A rarely seen A/N from me? Who knew?: This chapter was just as much about Quinn’s freedom as it was his mother’s… and a special thank you to Alison for finally giving Quinn’s Mom a name 😉
…I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his ring is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings-
I know why the caged bird sings…
~Paul Laurence Dunbar
Sunday, January 17th…
I was out of options. I didn’t have a single bright idea about how to keep my mom from being executed. The only thing I could hope for was that if I went to Stan Davis with Sookie in my corner, he might take pity on her… Everyone knows how sweet on Sookie he is… maybe he’d let me be the one to put Mom down. If it was up to that albino bloodsucker of hers, he’d probably have his pal torture Mom for months before ending her… just because I fucked Sookie. Just because I’m a pain in his ass for still being around. Just because… Sookie had been right…
If I hadn’t killed Andre, the takeover wouldn’t have happened.
Killing Andre was probably the biggest mistake I’d ever made. I might still have Sookie if I’d just left that fucker there for the rescue workers to find.
She had a better reason than anyone to want him dead. But even after bonding with Northman, she still slept with me that night. She still wanted me. She wanted me until the takeover. I’d fucked everything up.
Andre could have held Sophie-Ann’s throne for her. Killing Andre, leaving no one to rule in her place…
It’s all my fault.
All of it.
After the last time I saw Sookie, I spent a couple of days sobering up… Seeing her with Herveaux and the vampires made me realize that being without Sookie was a bed I’d made. The three of them put together had killed thousands. Hell, I’d killed close to a hundred Weres in fights… but the one vampire I took down was the first domino. Andre’s death really had cost Sookie a lot. If I ever wanted her back, it wasn’t going to happen while I was being a drunk prick. I was going to have to dry up. I was going to have to wait for a chance to apologize. I was going to have to wait for her to come to her senses. I wasn’t going to get what I wanted- I wasn’t going to get Sookie by pushing. Sookie doesn’t like to be pushed.
I missed her.
Crazy as it sounds, even in my head, I missed the power she had over me.
So now… Here I am. The first chance I have to say anything to her and now I have to ask her for a favor. Beg her for a favor that I don’t deserve.
I’d taken a cab most of the way, and walked the last 5 miles, hoping to clear my head.
I was almost at Northman’s house when Frannie called.
“How is Mom?”
“Sleeping. What are we going to do?”
“We’re going to hope that I can keep her alive.”
“What are you… Where are you?”
“You’re going to the Vampires there?”
“One in the same. Nevada got a new king this month. Davis. They’re friends.”
“Isn’t he a friend of Sookie’s?”
“Oh. My. God! What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to see if Sookie has any ideas.”
“Why would that cunt help you? Momma? She made it pretty fucking clear that she doesn’t give a shit…”
“NO! She broke up with you because of Momma! Why would she help?”
“She didn’t break up with me because of Mom. That’s just the reason she gave. I fucked up. I fucked up big. She was right to break up with me… Look, she’s a good person. She’s got enough power and friends that she might be able to think of a way to keep a lid on Mom’s run.”
“If you fucked up so much, then why would she help?”
“She might not, but Sookie is the only chance Mom has.”
“You aren’t… you wouldn’t start fighting again would you?” As long as Frannie and Mom were taken care of, I’d take a challenge from Northman himself…
“If that’s what it takes.”
It was just before dawn… even if Northman was still alive, he wouldn’t be an issue for long before he’d have to climb into his hole… It would give Sookie the chance to think of something…
A pair of vamps were talking when I approached the gate, probably waiting for their relief.
One vamp snarled at me. “State your business.”
“John Quinn. I’m here to see Sookie.”
“The queen is sleeping. Return later.”
I expected to have to argue, but the vamp spaced out and the other radioed ‘threat level one- gate’.
In about 5 seconds, I nearly shit…
Sookie popped. She wasn’t there. Then she was. She popped like a fucking Faerie.
Baggy sweatpants. Wife beater. The cold air hit her and her nipples stood out under her shirt before she had the chance to cross her arms over them… God damn, I missed them. Even with everything else I had going on, I couldn’t help but remember what being with her was like.
She was staring at me, shooting daggers when a Were popped out to stand behind her… then Northman… NORTHMAN popped. Where the fuck are all the Fae abilities coming from? This is fucking crazy.
Before I could say or do anything 4 more Weres came running up including that shitheel Herveaux… Me against an army of 9. An army of 9 that includes a popping Vampire.
If this didn’t go well, all I could do is hope that I’d have the chance to text my bank info to Frannie.
Sookie practically barked, “Tell me why I shouldn’t end you right now, Quinn.”
“Sookie, I need a favor.”
She laughed. I understood why, but the way she did it gave me chills. I was starting to think she might be too far gone. “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.” She’d know I was lying, but I didn’t want to come out and say that I’d followed her back from the Zoo that night.
She walked over to the gate. She was smart enough to not believe me. “Give me your hand.”
I put my arm through the bars, knowing I was all but busted as soon as she read my mind. She scowled as soon as her hand touched my arm and if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear I heard her voice call me a liar inside my head. Northman and Herveaux were giving me shitty looks from her back, but it was the PM’s smell on her…
What the fuck?
She shook her head at me and announced, “Everyone, stand down. Landry open the gate.”
As quickly as they came out, they all left again. All of them except for the Wolf and the Vampire. And they both looked happy enough to shit that I was there.
She held hands with both of them on the way up to the house. Like my fucking nerves weren’t shot enough, now I was trying to figure out what the fuck was going on… If she was just with Northman for political reasons… if the PM was using her to add to the pack… if she was using Herveuax for kids since the vampire couldn’t give her any…
I’d heard the ‘Round Table’ rumors a few times, but I ignored them… I’d seen her with both of them… but I figured it was bullshit. Sookie isn’t like that. Once I sobered up, I figured that it was all crap… like a smoke screen. The only reason I could think of was that if they confused everyone, then everyone would figure she’s protected around the clock.
The whole walk was quiet. Not a single word was said. When we got into the house, Sookie pointed to a barstool and went to work in the kitchen.
She’d thrown some steaks on the stove and started a pot of coffee before she ordered me to ‘Speak.’
“You know about all the shit with my mom…” I stopped talking when she put her arm up… until a manila folder drifted into her hand from behind me…. telekinesis too?
“I don’t just know about her. I own her. What’s this about?” I felt like I was going to puke. I was in the damn Twilight Zone… My ex-girlfriend is popping, moving things with her mind, fucking a Packmaster and a vampire king and had just announced that she owns my debt to Nevada. She owns my mom.
“How did you get that?”
Herveaux sat on the stool next to me and grumbled, “Because, I’m not her only pet.”
Sookie smiled at him and then turned to tell me to hurry up with her hand. “Well, get on with it. If I have to go into your head, I’m not likely to be sympathetic.”
I braced myself. “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.”
She huffed out a deep breath as she pulled more food out of the fridge. “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.”
She passed out coffees and set a sugar dish next to my cup… the cup had a shield with an ‘N’ on it… “What was your idea?”
“To kill her.”
Her eyes widened… “Kill her?”
“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.” I’d want to die if it were me.
“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.”
She put plates full of food in front of me and the Wolf. “How far can she swim?” Swim?
“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?”
The morning had already been too surreal so I went ahead and started eating. “That’s what Frannie has always wanted but we can’t find anywhere to hold her.”
She stared at me for a minute with her arms folded across her chest until she finally grabbed her phone and dialed…
“Sookie, my lovely, what can I do for you?” I had no more idea who she was talking to than I did about her reason for helping…
“Good morning, it seems I need a favor.”
“I want to buy Antwort Insel.” Oh shit! Northman must have heard of it too because he actually showed a reaction… Brighton’s dungeon… Answer Island… It was a one way trip.
“But then, where will I tend to my problems?” His laugh echoed. I couldn’t believe this shit… Brighton was untouchable. He’d been king of Michigan since before it was Michigan… No one fucked with him. EVER. And he called Sookie his ‘lovely’?
“I understand darling, but I have a unique problem…”
Sookie’s brother came in and gave me a shitty look as he sat at my other side and Sookie wandered away…
As soon as she was out of sight, her brother started in… “Who’s getting fired?”
Eric smirked at him. “Landry.”
Jason raised an eyebrow. “No shit? I’da figured it would be a Were that wouldn’t open fire on ‘a legend’” Open fire? It would figure there’d be standing orders.
Northman laughed. “No. As soon as Azo laid eyes on him, he took his safety off.”
“Febes is itching to shoot somebody too… She ain’t shot nobody in a few months. So what’s he want? Someone leave a can of tuna in the yard?”
Herveaux and Northman both started laughing.
I just shook my head at him. “Asshole. You’re a cat too.” Half of one anyway.
He flashed his eyes at me… Bittens can’t do that. Bittens don’t have the traits… What the fuck? “Only when I have to be, Simba.”
“Simba’s a lion.”
“And cute. You ain’t cute either. You remember Pepe LePew? That fucker kept sniffing around skirts that didn’t want him too… Pepe… That’ll work.”
“Go fuck yourself.” I wasn’t in the mood for his shit.
“Go fuck myself? Huh, I could, but explain it to me. If I fuck myself does that mean I can turn around and betray myself and almost get myself killed… After all, that’s what you do, right? Like after you fucked my sister.”
Fuck. “I didn’t have a choice.” I didn’t think anything would happen to Sookie. I figured that Northman would die protecting her… My mom would be safe. Sookie would’ve been moved to Nevada, but DeCastro wouldn’t use her any more than Northman had been and he’d be out of my way.
I nearly shit myself when the fucker lunged across the counter at me with his fangs out. “You thought with the wrong brain. She’d have been turned, you piece of shit.”
“You heard me… my… No!”
Jason and Herveaux hadn’t budged other than the snort from the PM. “Eric, he knows that now. Sookie told him.”
The fang never broke eye contact with me. “What he knows now has nothing to do with what could have happened. If Pam hadn’t been with Amelia that night… He still hasn’t gotten what he deserves.”
“Amen, but can we hide his body before the kids are up?”
Jason added, “Hiding it ain’t the problem. You know how Hunter is… You can’t do it here. Not after that boy got those memories from Merlotte’s.”
Northman stepped back, glaring at me with his fangs still out… 10 minutes. 10 minutes max before he’d have to find a coffin to climb into. I’d have to wait it out… Wait it out and try to figure out why he was smirking at me later.
Sookie blew back into the room, still on the phone and setting a laptop on the counter on her way back to the stove to start cooking for the three plates she laid out.
“…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.”
Sookie set her phone on the counter and looked at me over the laptop screen. “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?”
She turned the computer around and grabbed the coffee pot, topping off the PMs cup and starting a fresh pot.
She rolled her eyes at me and reached over to zoom in closer. “It’s Lake Huron… See the little speck there?”
“That is Antwort Insel.”
“An island?” She really wanted to send my mom to an island?
“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. Howie… King Brighton built it as a little getaway so it doesn’t have much of a kitchen and the nicer sleeping arrangements are in the basement for obvious reasons… but Frannie can make it work. Y’all can replace whatever you want. Brighton said to just store whatever you don’t need in the… less finished part of the basement. It was used recently, but someone will be airing it out today. He was yelling for his day guy when I was getting off the phone with him to set up stuff like a satellite and stocking the kitchen…” Another wave of people came into the kitchen so she introduced me to Herveaux’s sister, the popping Were, a giant of a Were and a trio of kids (Manen, Hunter and Tommy), but I was more than a little distracted by the fact that dawn was filling the room and Northman was still staring me down…
Like that wasn’t weird enough, Northman’s child waltzed into the kitchen just as Sookie was leading me towards the back of the house.
Sookie sat on her vampire’s lap behind a huge desk (proving a point, I guess) and started dialing her phone again.
“Mr. Klein? I’m sorry to call so early.”
“No ma’am. The king already explained that you’d be in contact. I’m in my truck now. What can I do for you?”
“I suppose I should start with groceries. How often do you plan on taking the trip out to the island?”
“I’ll be going out there a few times today, I guess. But the king told me as often as his guests need me.”
“Are you on staff?”
“Retired actually. I used to be one of his guards.”
“And you’ve been told that one of the guests is a Tiger.”
He started laughing. “Yes’m. Oughta be fun. Heard that home couldn’t hold her… What sort of groceries are they needing?”
“They’re going to be long term guests…”
Sookie rattled off a grocery list and more while Iceman sneered at me from behind her… and she arranged to borrow a private plane from none other than Russell fucking Edgington. No way.
By the time she was done on the phone, she’d arranged for transportation, groceries and my mom’s medicine…
It almost seemed like everyone was chomping at the bit to kiss her ass… but all the favors she was racking up was going to cost me. BIG.
“Sookie, what is this going to cost me?”
“Leave me alone.” And?
“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.” My two week bender wasn’t exactly what the doctor ordered.
The vampire patted her hip and stared at her for a minute before getting up to leave the room. I guess he was finally going to rest.
Sookie came to stand in front of me instead of sitting back down. “Call a truce?” Unreal.
“Yeah. Truce.” I offered to shake her hand, but she hugged me instead… The way she used to hug me… her arms went around my sides and her smell, not the vampire’s or the PM’s, her smell got to me. More than it should have, maybe just more than I expected it to… but it got to me.
She led the way back to the kitchen and went back to cooking, smiling and chatting with everyone… including Ravenscroft. She was standing directly in a sunbeam and leaning against the PM.
That’s a bad ass mother fucking wolf… fucking a vampire and a vampire’s fiancé… maybe the vampire king too, who knows?
Bad ass mother fucker.
I thought he was a pussy, some kind of ‘day boy’ for Northman, but… damn!
The only thing to get me out of trying to figure out who caught and who pitched was getting tapped on my back…
When I turned around I was looking at the little girl Sookie introduced me to earlier. Manen. Pretty little thing. I couldn’t help but wonder where she came from but she looked just like Northman except for her green eyes…
The PM whistled. “Janie! Heads up. Manen’s going again.”
I almost missed it, but Manen changed faster than I could…
She couldn’t be but like 7… and she shifted. She shifted fast. It was smooth too…
I was staring into the bright green eyes of a Bengal. A Bengal like me… She let out a loud, impressive roar and a second later, Northman was standing behind her…
He’d probably thought it was me at first, but he knelt down next to her and stroked her back. “Manen, you’ll have to bathe again. The scent will spook your horse.”
When she turned to leave, I risked a look at Herveaux and Northman and both of those fuckers were smiling like they couldn’t be more proud…
I turned around to see Sookie plating more food with a giant grin on her face. “Sookie, what the fuck? A tiger?”
“Watch your mouth around my kids. She’s a shifter.” Her kids? Since when does she have kids?
“How old is she?”
The vampire got my attention. “She’s only 6…” then turned to the PM. “…I suppose we should stay close when we ride. That’s her third change in 24 hours. She’ll tire out quickly today.” 3rd change? I’d be completely spent.
Herveaux shook his head. “Something tells me, the more she changes, the more energy she has.” He pointed at Sookie. Sookie? SOOKIE!? Sookie shifts?
She giggled at them. “Don’t you look at me! I still have to eat like a pig to keep up with life.”
Mind fucked… Mind fucked was the best fit. This is fucking crazy. I knew Sookie was part Fae. Just part though. She had more powers than any full Fae I’d ever met.
If she can pop, then why wasn’t she using that in Rhodes? If she has telekinesis then why didn’t she use that to get rid of the bomb or… stake Madden during the takeover?
When I was fucking with her at the Zoo, she seemed stronger than she used to be, but it was one of the reasons I stopped drinking… I thought I was just that trashed. I was still hard from watching her dance with those female Weres, like every other guy in the bar.
When she left to get ready I was left in the room with 6 random Weres and her brother, fiancé and pet… and they were all glaring at me.
They were probably all picturing a different way to kill me until Jason started rattling away in French.
Whatever he said was hilarious to Northman and Herveaux, but I was trying to figure out how he knew French well enough to joke around when his English was for shit.
Herveaux’s sister and Ravenscroft came back through… while the lieutenant was sucking face with the PM on her way out, she reached over and slapped the back of my head.
I growled, but the only reaction I got out of her was that she gave me ‘the finger’. Bitch….
When they were gone, I fucking asked. I couldn’t hold it anymore. Northman is planning on horseback riding with the kids, Ravenscroft is going to the mall… 9:30 in the fucking morning and they’re not even showing that they’re fighting it. I’d seen vamps older than Ravenscroft collapse at dawn… “What the fuck is going on? How are y’all still awake?”
Northman rolled his eyes at me. “How are you so oblivious? You had to have heard the rumors that we’re daywalkers.”
“No. I heard you fly. I heard your child can run through a foot of concrete… Somehow that one got by me. Is this what happens when you fuckers feed from Fae? Is that why all you assholes fight over Sookie like the last Wonka Bar?”
Everyone in the room growled at me except for Jason. That fucker started laughing and swung his arm over to slap Northman’s shoulder… then Northman started laughing… Jason thought a joke to him?
Fucking insane! “And now you have telepathy too? You’re going to try to pass that off as something other than tapping Sookie like a keg?”
“No. Actually, I started developing telepathy when she started taking my blood.”
“When she… You… That long ago!?”
He nodded, smirking like the mother fucker he is. “It’s funny though. It wasn’t until Rhodes that I started hearing Weres.”
“Rhodes? You mean when you forced her to bond with you?”
The PM reached around and batted the back of my head like his vamp had. “Shut the fuck up. You’re the only one who remembers it that way.”
“What the fuck are you sticking up for him for?”
“I could reach.”
“I meant, he wouldn’t do the same for you.”
Northman shook his head. “Don’t bet on that, asshole. And don’t forget that you’re heavily outnumbered.”
“You know for a fact that you’re the only one in the room that could take me.”
Every damn one of them started laughing, but Sookie coming back into the room quieted things down…
She bounced up on the counter and started talking to Northman about costumes for the New York wedding I was scheduled to do… Lovely.
I’d get to deal with Northman and Herveaux’s asses then too.
They all laughed and joked around like I wasn’t in the room until the vampire was done helping her with her fucking makeup (now I’ve seen everything)…
When she finally asked where her ‘hos’ were, the PM chuckled out, “They’re waiting in the car.”
“You sons of bitches! You’ll pay for that!… Quinn. Car. Now.”
I watched her kiss or hug all of them on her way out to the garage…
She shooed Ravenscroft into the backseat… the bitch groped Sookie’s tit on her way between the seats too… I couldn’t make up my mind how I felt about that.
“Sorry ladies. I have a witness. I thought I was waiting for y’all in the kitchen. The guys took their time telling me you already went by.”
Pam snapped. “We’ll take care of them while we’re at the spa, yes?”
Sookie laughed. “Alcide and Eric, sure, but Jason and the others were just as forthcoming.”
“Eric and Alcide are more fun to fuck with anyway.”
Sookie laughed again. “In more ways than one.”
And I broke… “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?”
They all started giggling. “You already know the answer.”
More giggling. “Which hotel are you staying at?”
“The Winger. Sookie, you’re not going to tell me are you?”
“Right off the highway, right?”
Fucking great… “Yeah. Fine don’t tell me. I didn’t realize that you were serious about having kids. Where’d they come from?”
She cleared her throat, like she didn’t want to talk about it. I was about to let her off the hook when she answered me. “Hadley, my cousin, the queen’s child… She’s Hunter’s mother. His biological father died a few weeks ago. I was next of kin since Jas didn’t even know about him. Manen’s parents are gone and her foster family couldn’t take care of her anymore. They’re Were, but with her extra abilities, they were afraid she’d be found out. They’d heard about me and Alcide and figured we’d be better for her.”
“So…” Fuck, I had no idea how to ask…
“Pam, Eric, Alcide and I are raising them. Alcide and I are adopting them officially since Pam and Eric can’t.”
“Seriously? Vampires with kids?”
Pam started cackling, so Sookie told her to behave.
Moving on… “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.” Oh. My. God…
“Done? You killed him?”
She shrugged and look on her face was blank… “He attacked. We defended. It was over quickly. We were all thinking you’d be next.”
They were thinking that I’d be next…
I… I fucking sobered up just in time, I guess…
I don’t think I’d ever, in all the fights and shit I’d gone through… ever felt like I dodged a bullet more than in that exact moment…
Pam’s snickering behind me, was the only thing to bring me back from the proverbial ‘life flashing before my eyes’…“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?”
“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.”
Shit. I was fishing to find out what was up with him smelling like a Shifter now, but… now I felt sorry for the prick. “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 snarked, “Don’t hold back Sookie. Tell us how you really feel.” Even I laughed at that one.
As funny as Pam was (for a vampire), I figured I needed to get back to the original 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?” It made sense… maybe too much sense.
“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.”
“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.” It should be family.
“Frannie would never forgive you.”
“She wouldn’t need to know.” Anymore than Herveaux’s sister would know about how her father really bought the farm…
She let the conversation drop, rather than argue with me about it… Sookie wasn’t arguing about something… Fucking proof positive that she knew it would be the only way… That was even scarier than coming to the realization on my own…
“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?”
I hadn’t even thought of tranquilizer darts. I wouldn’t need them… but Fran would.
“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?”
She was already doing more than I could have imagined… “Sookie, why are you doing this for me?”
“Because I’m fucking awesome… 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’s contribution to the discussion was a shrug and, “That’s why Sookie had him taken down.”
I looked around, almost giving myself whiplash and she was dead serious. No fucking pun intended… “That was you?!”
She laughed, “Anytime.”
Sookie finally huffed out a deep breath. “I had something to do with it. Now get out. Go take care of your family. Let me know when they’re all settled.” Something? She had something to do with it? That mother fucker had managed to piss off every other monarch in North America and Sookie had something to do with his death? No wonder she had so many fucking friends!
All I could do is hug her. “Thanks Sookie. I owe you.”
“Hmm. I’m hearing that a lot lately.” I bet.
I got out of the car and watched her pull away…
And I was only half was through the lobby before my phone started ringing…
“Oh, thank God!”
“What? Is something wrong?”
“No… I’m… I was worried about… Is she, you know, can she help?”
I caught myself smiling. “Yeah, Fran. Sookie’s helping.”
“Like how? I mean… what do we need to do?”
“You need to pack some clothes. Pack for snow.”
“Snow? What the fuck, Quinn? Are we hiding in Siberia?”
“What the hell is going on?”
“Sookie is friends with the king of Michigan… He’s letting her have an island in the middle of Lake Huron… No fences. No walls. No orderlies with drugs. Room to run.”
“Yeah. Sookie Stackhouse.”
“How… I thought she hated you.”
“I gave her every reason to, but she doesn’t.”
“And she’s still helping… What did you do?”
“We can talk about it later.”
Twenty minutes later, the front desk called because there was a car waiting to take me to the airport…
Two hours in the sky and Frannie and mom were waiting on the tarmac for the plane… with takeout…
Mom was pitiful… barely conscious… her eyes could barely focus… she was having tremors and cold sweats from the drugs leaving her system. Once we were in the air, I managed to spoon feed her some soup while Frannie munched… and then I watched her sleep until I ended up getting the first sleep I managed to get since I got the call from Mom’s home.
By the time our limo got to the marina, there was a Were and an elf waiting for us…
The guy smiled at me. “That’s me. You’re the Quinn, huh?”
“I guess so. How did everything go? Did you have any trouble running errands and whatnot?”
He shook his head. “Nah, you’d be surprised how greased the wheels can be when a vampire king sends out word. I just brought your satellite installer back. Y’all are set up, even got y’all a phone service since cell is unreliable out there.”
I looked down (way down) at the elf and offered my hand. “John Quinn.”
She took my hand, but she might actually be smaller than the little shifter of Sookie’s. “Villia Hontune. Queen Stackhouse called me between her tan and her highlights. She says your mother’s been in Sanctuary for a while. She asked me to come out and look her over.” Queen Stackhouse…
“She’s not doing so well at the moment… The meds…”
“Meds my low-riding ass… they kept her stoned, didn’t they?” This one’s just as charming as Doc Ludwig…
“For the most part.”
“Well, then… Let’s get her to Antwort and jumpstart her detox…”
I sat near Hal Klein (31 year veteran as the head day guard for Brighton and Packmaster of Area 1 in Michigan) while Frannie and Mom sat at the back of the boat so that Dr. Hontune could check over mom.
The ride only took about 15 minutes and the doctor made Hal wait to give us the tour so that she could tend to mom…
We helped her to the couch in the huge living room with a massive stone fireplace… ‘log cabin’ my ass… this place was a ‘log cabin’ like the Westminster Abbey was a ‘church’.
The doc hopped up onto the couch next to mom and pulled out a few vials of meds… and sent Hal to the kitchen for the trashcan.
Mom didn’t even have it in her to shy away from the huge syringe… but as soon as the needle went into her arm, I figured out what the trashcan was for. Mom heaved into the thing for a while and it went on long enough that she looked like she was starting to hurt. The doctor gently rubbed mom’s back and explained that the vomiting was getting all the years of ‘poison’ out of her system now instead of waiting for time do it.
When it finally stopped, Mom looked around, making eye contact with all of us… and even looked embarrassed that she’d just gotten sick in front of strangers.
The doc grinned at her. “I’m Doc Hontune, lovey. What was your name before you became ‘Quinn’s Mom’?”
She actually laughed. “Eleanor. Nora. Where are we?”
“You’re home, lady. I hear that your little girl is going to be tending to you from now on.”
Her eyes lit up and I swear, I almost cried seeing it… It had been way too long. “I’ll explain later, mom.”
She nodded, cringed at the trashcan and looked around in a ‘what’s next’ kind of way…
Hal opted to give mom and me the tour while the Doc took Frannie to the kitchen to run through mom’s meds and vitamin schedule.
The first stop on the tour was upstairs.
Hal swung the first door open and pointed inside. “I wasn’t given much by way of direction. I figured this one would be for him, when he visits.”
Mom nodded, and I looked inside. It wasn’t anything special, but it was a decent room… big room, big bed… no more than I’d be able to visit, it’d be more than comfortable.
The next room was pretty much the same and he ‘figured’ it would be good for Fran… There was even a doorway to the room meant for Mom.
The third room though… “I had a Lieu in Sanctuary for a while recovering… visited him once… I figured you’d like this one. It’s got a view.”
He wasn’t shittin’ either… There was a huge picture window overlooking the lake and when she first went in, he nudged me and let me know that the glass was tempered… she couldn’t get through it… It was bulletproof.
She was crying by the time I got to her and Hal tried helping out. He pointed out over the water, to the right of the dock. “In a couple of months, the water will warm up enough, right there’s a shallow spot. You can swim all you want… and the basement has fishing gear, but if you like, no one can see ya fishing the fun way. Done it myself a few times.”
“Really?” She was almost whispering.
“Yeah. I’m pretty strong for an old fart and I only managed a mile and a half… You should be just fine here…”
He gave me a wink over his shoulder.
“…You’ve got your own bathroom too. Nice big tub. Jets and all. You should be a happy camper.”
God, I hope so.
By the time we got to the kitchen, the doctor had used a sharpie to write her number on the fridge door and Hal followed suit…
Mom looked around a little bit and had a sudden idea that made her eyes light up again… she wanted to make dinner… her own dinner… she hadn’t picked what she wanted to eat for years.
I sat on the counter, while the Doc literally disappeared and Hal started bringing in their stuff to give us a few minutes…
And I explained… well, I explained everything while I watched my mom make a fucking meatloaf and peel spuds for mashed potatoes… like she was the happiest woman in the world.
When the story was all over, Frannie stared me down. “She told us that we were the reason she was breaking up with you.”
“It was bigger than that. I nearly got her killed trying to keep mom safe. That was just the last straw. She was going through a lot and most of it was because of me.”
“So why would she help?”
“Because I was being a dick head. I was hassling her and making a fool out of myself and when Stan took over she bought my debt to Nevada so that she could blackmail me into backing off.”
“You were stalking her?”
I nodded. “I was so trashed that I had no idea how strong she’d gotten or how much power her and Northman have now… but yeah. I was stalking her.”
“After all that, she’s still willing to set all this up?”
“Sookie never would’ve let anything happen to Mom. She… she just wanted me to stop bothering her. Telling me that her and her vampire had access to Mom would’ve done the trick.”
Frannie threw a spoon at me and yelled, “ASSHOLE! I liked her until… I can’t believe you! You fucked up!”
“How did her vampire act while you were there?”
Having to say it out loud sucked the wind out of me… “He behaved for the most part. So did her brother and her Werewolf boyfriend. I’m done. There’s no getting her back. I fucked around for too long even if I had a chance.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because the vampire would have ended me in a blink… He’s still gunning for me, but he loves her enough to leave me be.”
“That doesn’t mean that she wants…”
I cut her off, shaking my head. “No, Frannie. It’s over. Sookie isn’t going anywhere. I need to just deal with it.”
“But she… She saved your life… She has to care…”
“She does, but it doesn’t mean anything more than that.”
Frannie might have stood there and argued with me all damn night, if Hal didn’t come back in.
He smiled at my mom… “Like riding a bike?”
She barely looked up at him, but she was still smiling her ass off. “Yes, sir. I suppose it is.”
“Good for you…” He held his cell out to me… and mouthed ‘the king’.
Shit. Like I was in the mood to deal with Northman again… I wandered out to the living room.
“No. Brighton.” Oh shit.
“Hello. I… thank you for everything.”
“Don’t thank me. It’s all Sookie. Hal tells me that your mother is already improving.”
“Yes sir. In fact, she’s puttering around the kitchen with a smile on her face. She’s enjoying some independence.”
“We Supes can be the simplest of creatures, can’t we?” Since Fran looked like she was watching Santa put out her presents, humans should have been included.
“So it seems.”
“I just spoke to King Northman.” Here it comes… this is where I find out that another vampire owns my ass…
“He called Anselme this morning about your sister’s belongings. The local pack is loading her things as we speak. Her landlord was taken care of and they’ll be there by the end of the week. Her car will have new keys when it arrives though, the packers couldn’t find a spare set. Hal will supervise the storage.” Fuck, now I’ll owe Northman a favor.
“Thank you, sir.”
“I’m sure your sister and mother will need some additional incidentals. There is a loner car waiting at my marina for you. Hal can show you where the shopping centers are and will take you back in the morning. The Inn next to the marina is expecting you if you like.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.”
“I told you. I’m doing this for Sookie.”
“I understand that, but I don’t really care who it’s for, we still appreciate it.”
He actually laughed. “Fair enough. Is there anything else that your family might need from me?”
“No sir. We’re experiencing a fair amount of shock right now. It’s been a while since we’ve seen our mom be herself.”
“Well then, Hal will let me know if anything comes up. Tell your mother that I said ‘Welcome to Michigan’.”
He hung up and I was left staring at Hal’s phone.
Hal had already told my mom and Frannie to start a list while I’d been on the phone so by the time I got back to the kitchen, they’d put together a list of sizes for some winter clothes, brands of shampoos and soap, mom was actually in the mood for Mallow-mars if I could find them… it was all simple stuff that Hal said I could find at the Wal-Mart in town…
I was still in a bit of a daze when we left the island and I almost missed that another small boat passed us…
Hal caught me staring and told me that he talked to a guy named ‘Eric’ who paid the local pack to have a few wild turkeys and deer taken out every couple of weeks so that mom could enjoy her runs more.
Damn if that didn’t make me hate Northman a little more…
By the time, I got back to the Inn with a trunk loaded with everything I could cram into it, the receptionist told me there was a package waiting in my room… I figured it was a bomb. Honestly…
It turned out to be a gift basket with a bottle of champagne and truffles.
The card read: ‘Eleanor, Freedom is a wonderful thing, enjoy it. All the best from the Round Table’
The note on the table next to it was for me.
‘Quinn, if you breathe a word that I was nice, I’ll drain you slow and spit out every mouthful. Pam.’
I was still laughing when I called Fran to see how things were going…
Mom fell asleep in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch, and was still smiling.