Seeing Things Clearly
Monday, September 6th…
I woke up just a couple hours later to the sounds of the girls cooing in their crib. I smiled into the darkness of our room and just listened for a minute.
“Lover, do you want me to tend to them?”
I lifted my face to smile at him. “Shh, listen.”
We laid there in the quiet for another moment. “Sookie, are they talking to each other?”
I couldn’t help but enjoy this. “It certainly seems like it.”
It’s not like they were reciting sonnets, but Erika and Dagny were cooing and babbling in turn.
We laid there for a while just listening to the chatter between the two of them, smiling at each other. We had a pretty good idea which one was which. One of them had a wider range in her voice, quiet then bouncy and back again and the other just seemed more robust and… enduring.
Eric chuckled. “I wonder if Dagny will pivot and stomp away when she’s angry like you do.”
I blew a quiet raspberry at him. “Maybe… and Erika will probably cross her arms when she’s being impatient.”
Eric and I sat next to each other on the couch in the nursery and fed the little princesses, the ridiculous joy over their existence still not worn off, so we were smiling at them both like fools.
Once the girls were settled back down, Eric and I went back to our room. I laughed at him when he accidentally stubbed his toe on the bed that was now sitting directly on the floor.
I went to my dresser and grabbed my work out shorts and bra and jokingly shook of the imaginary dust, holding them up like a girl would a prom dress.
“You’re going to try running with those?” He laughed as he made a grabbing gesture with both hands.
“I miss running enough to give it a try. They don’t hurt. You found that out last night, Majesty.”
“Yes, I did. Thank you.”
I gave a bow. “No, thank you.”
He smiled at me devilishly. “We have a lot to do today, yes?”
“We do. Including buying a new bed frame.” I went into my closet and grabbed an outfit.
“Well then, I will go buy the new frame when I go out early to drop off the truck. Then you can go shopping for some better fitting bras and get the new bedding.”
“Oh! I get to take Pam with me!” That’s right, I called ‘dibs’ on shopping with Pam.
He laughed at my excitement as I kissed him and headed downstairs.
It felt so good to run again, I ran almost twice as much as I used to and had just as much fun doing my sit ups and pull ups. It felt amazing to be so mobile. I almost didn’t want to go in and start breakfast.
After my shower, I put on a white halter top with a short jean skirt and white heeled sandals. I was vain enough about having my body back that I ran my hands down my flat stomach in the mirror and smiled.
I managed to quickly get the veggie frittata in the oven and started the pot of coffee. When Alcide woke up, I started our steaks, put the bacon in the oven for the kids and checked my messages while I waited for him.
“Good morning, handsome.”
Alcide smiled and paid for his coffee with a kiss. “Morning, Shug. D’you run this morning?”
I gave him a bright smile as I put his plate down in front of him. “It felt so good, I did extra.”
He laughed at me as he dug into his food. We sat and ate, fighting over the salsa occasionally.
When I was done, I rinsed my plate and grabbed the hair kit out of the bathroom. I was excited to do his hair the old way. The belly had made it impossible for me to stand on the back of his chair over the last few months.
Alcide all but purred while I smoothed his hair out.
“You’re too happy about being skinny again.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my babies. I’m just very happy that pregnancy is a temporary disability.”
“A wheelchair that you seem fine with climbing back into right away.”
“You bet. I can put up with three months of being slow and fat.”
He chuckled as he thought about twins learning to walk while we had twin newborns to take care of and spent a half a second panicking before he thanked god there are four parents to pitch in.
“Are we going to need another governess?”
“Nope. Just because we’re rich and famous doesn’t mean I intend to raise these kids any different than I would in Gran’s house. I want them to have as much normalcy as we can give them. In the spring, I’m going to have them pick a sport or activity so that they’re around human children more often.”
“Manen won’t like that one bit. She likes being a Supe as much as Eric does. Humans are beneath her.”
“Uh huh, which is exactly why Princess Manen needs to be around humans. It’s great that she knows how amazing she is, but she needs to know how to deal with the vermin too.”
Alcide chuckled. “She might as well be a vampire. She’s so vain.”
I snorted. “Then… we have the opposite problem for Hunter. He needs to be around humans so that he knows how special he is. Manen gets the opportunity to show off so much more than him. He doesn’t realize how gifted he is.”
“I never thought I’d say this, but I feel bad that he doesn’t change. He’ll be the only one of the kids that doesn’t.”
“He’ll adapt. We’ll have to find extra ways for him to feel included. Like at Manen’s baptism, he was pleased as punch to be handing you the moonstones. And he’ll never grow out of the ‘Far-back-rides’ or the horses.”
He chuckled picturing an adult Hunter zipped into Eric’s hoodie and I joined him. “What do we have planned for today?”
“I was thinking that we could eat an early dinner. Then we can fire off a bunch of illegal and dangerous fireworks. Then once the kids are asleep, go skinny dipping.”
“That sounds the like the best way to spend Labor Day, EVER… So what’s the plan for the day?”
Here comes ‘Mr. Timing’. Sometimes I thought Eric waited in our room for the perfect moment to come out. “I was thinking that you and I could drop the truck off to get cleaned and then take the first shift visiting the hospital with Tommy. Then stop by the furniture store.”
Alcide nodded. “The bitches are taking the second shift?”
I slapped his shoulder and laughed. “Yeah, Pam and I will take them lunch and then stop at Macy’s and the grocery store.”
Eric smirked. “Temporary housing for the shift in mass.” He was a little preoccupied with the expansion of my boobs.
I smiled at him. “You could just say ‘new bras’, Viking… And clothes with a waist line.”
“Sounds like a plan… But you’re going to take the Burb in to be detailed? You’re not worried that someone will call the cops?”
“I’m taking it to my dealership. They’ll assume that I moved a victim in it.” He smiled like Beelzebub, himself. “I haven’t fed from anyone but Sookie in so long, it’ll be ‘good’ for my reputation.”
Alcide laughed. “I’m sure Janice will be happy to have helped.”
Eric went out to take everything out of the Burb and Alcide and I dished out breakfast for the kids before trying to get some work done. Somehow, I had a bunch of work pop up overnight. It was a good thing that I had a couple of hours to get it done.
Eric had just come in when Tobin and Jordie both came in through the patio door.
“Stop right there!”
The two of them gave each other a bewildered look. “What’s up, Sook?”
“What’s the status on the list I gave you?”
“Everything is taken care of except for the bedding. I forgot what color that room was. The mattress is set to be delivered Friday and the guys are coming to get the old one tomorrow. When Curtis and Manny got to Jas’ house to put the furniture together, they went ahead and cleaned it. They said it looked really good already.” I smiled at the idea of my brother doing so well. God knows, his bachelor pad had been a pizza box and beer bottle museum.
“Ok then. Pam and I are going shopping so I’ll take care of the bedding. Get out of here. It’s a holiday.”
They smiled at me and pounded fists with the kids as they headed out.
With all of the extra housing we had at the compound, the staff (especially the security guys) had been calling it ‘The Pound’ because of all the ‘animals’ on the property at any given time. Sara was all but living with Jeremy in the bunk house along with Goose. Tobin kept a bulk of his things out in the bunkhouse but had all but moved in with Febes upstairs in the apartment with Dozer. Jordie stays in the light tight room in the dorm which he has pretty much to himself unless we have VIP company and then he stays in the extra room inside. Doug and Angela either spend the night in her room in the house or his room in the bunk house.
Russell was highly entertained with our copacetic living arrangements and made the mistake of calling Alcide the only ‘house pet’ in jest one night. While we all laughed at the joke, Manen took offense and kicked him in the shin and he playfully showed his fangs. She reached right up and plucked ‘Mr. Sippi’ right on the razor-sharp tooth without hesitation. It brought bloody tears to his eyes. When he was done laughing/crying he asked jokingly, “Now, Sookie, are you sure you didn’t birth her yourself?”
From then on, they shared their own running joke. Whenever she saw him, she’d hold her fingers up, ready to flick him and show him a jokingly mean face. Russell would do his best to look scared and hold his hand over his mouth.
After Eric, Alcide and Tommy left, I put my work down long enough to clear the table and do dishes so Manen and Hunter could do their assignments. Then, went right back to work.
I must have had 20 new cases dropped on me. They were all from Russell, Stan and Ray. They had all heard cases last night and had forwarded them on to me for their COJA and filing. 4 cases were being sent to me locally because they didn’t want to wait for Baltimore. So I spent half an hour on the phone with their respective day guys to let them know that Thursday at Fangtasia would be the when and where. I got a little concerned when each one of them asked if King Northman and Justice Herveaux would be ‘sitting court’ then as well.
When that was all done, I grabbed the ‘thank you’ cards and started writing them out and addressing them.
I was almost done when Hunter came into the room and sat down next to me and laid his head against my arm.
“Momma, whatcha doin’?”
I smiled down at him and kissed his forehead. “I’m almost finished with my chores. I had to make sure everyone who sent those presents and flowers know how much we like them.”
“Are you worried?”
I wanted to kick myself for talking about it in earshot of the kids. That was really stupid of me. “Why would I worry about that?”
“Because you and Daddy could get hurt.”
I could lie to him, but he’d know and I wouldn’t want to do that even if I could get away with it. “We could get hurt, but it’s not likely that we stay hurt, baby. We can heal ourselves, remember.”
He nodded. “Can I watch?”
“I’d rather you didn’t. There is a lot of ugliness that goes on that you shouldn’t see until you’re much older.”
“Will you send to me when it’s over, to let me know you’re ok?”
“Absolutely, and Far will be here with you and he can tell you what’s going on if you’re still awake.”
“He’ll be scared too.”
“I know, but he knows that we will do anything to stay safe so we can come home to our family.”
He nodded again and we sat together in the quiet until we felt the girls stirring.
“Do you want to come help me change and feed your sisters?”
He smiled at me and let me carry him upstairs where Pam met us.
It was nearly 11, so I was surprised that she had slept so late, but Pam was up and looking very bright eyed.
We gave each other a once over and laughed. We had both opted for a snug white summer top, short jean skirt and she was wearing white espadrilles to counter my sandals.
When we were done joking around about being ‘too bonded’, we talked about our plans for the day while the girls greedily sucked down their formula.
When I told her about Erika and Dagny talking to each other earlier, she decided that she wanted them to sleep with her and Alcide tonight so that she might catch them doing it. She was excited to have the reason and I was amused that she thought she needed it.
The girls went right back to sleep after their feeding and Pam and I were joking around about how ‘boring’ newborns are as we headed downstairs and heard Tommy telling the other kids about the new truck.
I had known he would do it. Eric mentioned wanting to replace the barely 2 year old Suburban last month, but I fussed at him and told him there wasn’t anything wrong with it. Now that it was going to forever stink of blood and amniotic fluid, the brat had an excuse.
I went over and gave him a hug. “What did you get?”
He raised an eyebrow at me. “Black Durango. You aren’t going to harass me?”
“What would the point be in that?” I reached around and slapped his ass. “How are the Stackhouses today?”
He looked surprised. He had clearly been expecting a fight. “They aren’t as lucky as us. All three little ones are on a different schedule. Jason and Janice will benefit from a wake up.”
“They’ll get one.”
“Sookie, they cry a lot.”
“Babies tend to do that.”
“Erika and Dagny don’t. I haven’t heard them cry since they were first born.”
“Erika and Dagny have telepathic, empathetic parents with supersonic hearing and little need for rest. They don’t need to cry to communicate because we already know what they want.”
“So there’s nothing wrong with any of them?”
“Not a thing.” I patted his chest and he gave me a little squeeze. “Where’s the big dog?”
“He decided to stay at the hospital to ride back with you ladies.”
“So you are going to be here alone with 5 kids?”
He actually looked hurt. “Do you think I can’t care for them properly?”
“No, I think you’ll do just fine. Pam and were just coming down from tending to the girls. So you should have time to get some work done or play with the big ones before they need for anything again.”
“Alcide said something about fireworks. Should I track some down?”
“Nope. I already know where to find them.” I gave him a wink.
Our first stop was Enojada. Pam decided to sit in the car while I went in.
The host, Marcos, brightened as soon as he saw me.
“Reina Sookie! Te ves maravillosa! ¿Cómo son las princesas?” He flew at me for a hug.
“Son super. No puedo esperar para que usted pueda verlos.”
“Vamos a ser honrados de tenerlos. ¿Qué puedo hacer por usted hoy?” He bowed.
I leaned over and whispered to him. “Necesito 4 burrito locos, 4 Chile Rellanos, 10 tacos, salsa de queso, salsa, fritas y un valor de $ 500 para el más grande, más media de fuegos artificiales que existen”.
I gave him a wink and he answered with a deep nod.
“Si usted tira su coche a la puerta de atrás. Llevaremos a cabo su solicitud para usted.” I gave him another hug and paid for my order before I left to join Pam.
She was playing with the buttons and gadgets in the new truck.
“Where is your foul smelling lunch?”
I hissed at her with a smile on my face. “They’re bringing it out to us once they get it together.”
I only had to suffer through a few minutes of Pam flipping radio channels and playing with the sunroof before I saw our order coming our way.
I hopped out to open the back of the truck and Pam turned to inquisitively watch as 6 large boxes and 1 small one were slid into the back.
As I climbed back into the driver’s seat, I was greeted with a raised eyebrow. “Hungry, are we?”
I laughed and waited for the smell to hit her.
“Did you buy a bomb!?”
When we got to the hospital room, I was relieved that everything seemed quiet as we knocked on the door.
When we walked in, we found that the girls had been taken to the nursery for hypoglycemia testing. No surprise to me, of course. But Alcide had stayed because he was worried. That’s what he does.
The visit went by without incident. Jason and Janice both got a wake up and we all enjoyed lunch especially Janice who had to swear off spicy food months ago because of horrible indigestion.
I felt Alcide’s mood lighten when Dr. Jung brought the girls back and explained that their problems were hardly worth mentioning. Del and Jackie’s sugars were barely in the low range.
Once the doc came back and everyone was settled, and of course, we all got to visit with the girls, we hit the road to finish our errands.
Macy’s was too much fun. We’d never had so much luck with clothes and what made it more fun, was having Alcide to play with. Pam and I both had no small amount of fun every time Alcide growled when we modeled something for him, especially in the lingerie department.
Then after a quick stop at the grocery store, we were home by 4 o’clock, giving me plenty of time to braise the ribs and marinate the leg of lamb.
Everyone rushed out to the garage to greet us, including Jeremy.
“Sook, I have a problem. Can we talk?”
“Uh… Sure.” I followed him outside while everyone unloaded the truck. “What’s up, Jamie?”
“My parents want to visit.”
“Ok. I’ll get an extra guest house ready. Is that all?”
“No. My mom wants to visit me. I don’t think the old man wants to do anything but be a pain in my ass and yours.”
“Why do you think that?”
“I hadn’t heard from them in a month, then they just so happened to call the night you and Eric were on TV. Then mom called today to tell me that Joe ‘surprised’ her with plane tickets. That son of a bitch drove all the way from Hidalgo to Billings in a 79 Impala station wagon with a shoestring holding up the tailpipe in August without charging the AC because he said it would be a waste of money to have Freon in Montana.”
“You don’t think he’d spring for plane tickets if he weren’t up to something?”
“Right. He’s a mean bastard too. He gave mom the tickets, knowing she’d call me all excited and I wouldn’t tell her no.”
“Do you want to see them?”
“I want to see my mom, sure. But I haven’t missed anything about him.”
“And your brothers? Mickey is the only one who isn’t at The Pound nearly every day.”
“Mom and Joe don’t know we’re together. All 5 of us agreed not to tell them. Mom doesn’t even know that Chris got married or about Gabe. Goose knows they’re coming. He was with me when she called. He said he’d be ok with seeing her and be nice to Joe as much as he could.”
All I could do is shake my head. I couldn’t imagine staying with a man that could run off all 5 of my children. It would break my heart to find out the one of my children was coming up on their 3rd wedding anniversary and that I was a grandmother of 3 adorable kids that I’d never heard of. “Talk to your brothers, Jamie. This is a family thing. You come up with a plan and we’ll go with it.”
“Couldn’t Eric just drain him?”
I laughed. “Of course he could.” That made him smile for the first time since we started our talk. “When are they coming?”
“Sunday night, for four days… One thing for sure, I’m not telling them about Sara while they’re here.”
“Honey, you’re a grown man. It’s your call. I’ll have Jordie call them tomorrow for ‘security clearance’ info to see if he can dig up anything obvious for you.” I patted his chest and gave him a peck on the cheek. “You wanna run in the morning?”
“You’re running with those?!” Damn it! They’re boobs! Not leg braces! I don’t see why everyone keeps asking.
I raised an eyebrow at him. “I ran 20 laps this morning before you ever woke up.”
He laughed. “5 o’clock?”
“I’ll meet you at the bunk house.”
When I went back in, I went right to work in the kitchen. I gave the ribs their rub and then marinated the lamb and chicken. Pam had gone upstairs to tend to the twins (hold them while they sleep) and the kids were watching a movie in the den. Eric and Alcide were sitting in the lounge with their laptops doing what work they could. As it turns out, Alcide got slammed with cases too and a multi kingdom Vampire case was on the way from Ray for Eric to deal with.
I had just gotten the veggies out of the fridge to start the kabobs when I noticed that I was being watched.
“Why are you two staring at me?” I had a feeling they’d been in my head.
“Because you’re hopping mad, Shug.”
I shook my head. “I’m angry about something I can’t fix. I’ll get over it.”
“Lover, is it something several of us can fix?”
I stopped chopping the vegetables long enough to look up at them. “Both of you can fill a book with shitty things your fathers have pulled. Would you ever, even jokingly, suggest having a vampire drain your father rather than visit with him for 4 days?”
I watched Alcide and Eric’s faces take on shocked expressions before they shared a look and finally shook their heads.
“Well then, brace yourselves. Jamie’s folks are coming to town. For the record, he was only half joking.”
They got up and came over to sit at the bar. Alcide was happy to be distracted from work. “So what is the plan?”
“There isn’t one really. Jamie doesn’t want to tell them about being engaged and Goose is cool with behaving. The other three don’t know yet but the 5 of them kind of made a pact to not say anything about finding each other. ”
“When was the last time any of them were in contact?”
“Jeremy is the only one that has seen or talked to his mother in the last 8 years.”
“How is that possible? Mickey and Chris aren’t that old.”
“They were raised by their fathers and stopped visiting as soon as they were given the choice… Jeremy doesn’t believe that Joe isn’t up to something, so we’ll need to keep our eyes open.”
Alcide and Eric both nodded in agreement.
Only a few minutes later, the Quints (that’s what we’d started calling Azo, Goose, Chris, Mickey and Jeremy when they were together) came in through the garage. All of them looked very serious.
I smiled at them. “Hey boys! How we doing?” I already knew the answer. None of them were pleased with the situation.
Azo started with a growl. “I need time off.”
His manners surprised me. He’d never been brusque with me before so I knew this wasn’t a pleasant position for him. “You got it, Sir.”
He let out a huff. “Sook, I’m sorry. I just…”
I shook my head. “Azo. Stop. I get it. Family can be a heavy yoke. Enjoy the vacation.”
He looked at me, completely relieved. So I surveyed the group and asked who was next.
Chris put his hand up briefly and returned it to his pocket. “If it’s alright, I’ll send Lisa out to The Pound for court errands. I talked to her and she said that she wants to meet my mother, but anonymously.”
I nodded. “Mickey? What’s the word?”
“I’m going to stop by but I’m not saying anything about Gabe. I won’t have Joe around him.” A three month old isn’t likely to pick up many habits…
My eyes started to leak slowly. I cleared my throat. “Alright Jamie, what’s the story?”
He stumbled over his answer a little, not knowing how to react to my tears. “Uh… I’m single and Gabe doesn’t exist. The 3 of us won’t mention Chris or Azo or the kids… Sook, we don’t want you to be mad at us.”
“I’m not mad at y’all. It’s sad that because of Joe, I know all of you better than your own mother. He must be a real peach.”
Jeremy’s face got angry; not a look I’d ever seen on him before. “Sook, he’s my father and I left. He’s not a peach. He’s the worm and our mother picked him.”
I thought about that saying about lemons and lemonade. This visit was going to suck for everyone unless we thought of something to take the edge off… “Permission to have fun?”
All five of them let a little smile take over their lips. “What do you have in mind?”
“Tell me about this ‘prince among men’. Does he drink? Does he need a leash? Does he have any allergies?”
They all started chuckling. Jeremy took a step and put his arm over my shoulder. “Heavily, he’ll sniff around in any yard, the smell of vanilla makes him gag and he’s never belonged to a pack because he has a massive inferiority complex.”
I started laughing with a harsh cackle that I couldn’t control. “Well then, he’ll be easy to fuck with. I’ll start with adding laxatives to his beer, buying a new bikini from the toddler section of the store, putting vanilla orchids in the guest houses and as for his little complex… the property will be so full of alphas that he won’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his ass! Stillings and Quinn will both be here when they arrive. Y’all make sure to let me know if you can think of anything else we can ‘accidently’ annoy him with.”
We were all chucking and snorting wickedly as we plotted against Joe’s comfort. Finally I sent them on their way to inform everyone else of the charade.
I went to the couch and crashed into it. I remembered to tell Eric and Alcide about Hunter’s concerns so that they could both talk to him, but then I laid on the couch and did absolutely nothing but lament over Joe and Teri’s visit for a while until my phone rang.
Thank god for the distraction.
“Sookie?” I heard a familiar voice in the background correct her and she called me majesty.
“My name is Daveigh. I’m a friend of Diantha’s.” That explains the voice I had a hard time placing.
“What can I do for you Daveigh?”
I heard shuffling around and whispering, maybe the phone even being dropped. “Howyadoin’?”
“Hey Diantha, is everything alright?”
“Iguessso. I told Daveigh t’call ya.”
“I figured as much. Does your Uncle know?”
“Uh… Ok, what’s going on?”
“Daveigh’s foster parents are getting a divorce and her and her brother ‘r’ getting split up.” Eric had been quietly amused. He’d always gotten a kick out of Diantha.
“Ok, go on.”
“They’re both Supes and they’ve always had human fosters. They need somewhere to stay.”
Eric came over and held his hand out for the phone so I gave it to him. “Diantha?”
“You know better. You call me Eric. Tell me about Daveigh and her brother.”
“She’s 16 and Desmond’s 15. They’re semidaemons. He’s-a-technopath and she’s-a-mimic. Parentsaredead.”
“Why doesn’t your uncle approve of you calling us?”
“Causeyou’renotrunningacharity.” I got a kick out of that… That so sounded like something Mr. C would say.
“Are they trouble?”
Eric laughed. “Diantha, that didn’t answer my question.”
“Some. Desmond gotsuspendedforfixinggrades.”
Eric chuckled and told her to stay by the phone before he hung up.
He called Pam downstairs and brought her up to date.
“Eric, we don’t know anything about them.”
“Lover, not every child is born to parents that know what sports they will enjoy.”
Alcide laughed. “He’s got you there, Shug.”
Pam was amused at Eric’s excitement. “Can we call you Ms. Hannigan?”
“Only if you enjoy being backhanded…” He raised his eyebrow at her and she blew him a kiss. “You should enjoy having a teenage girl in the house. They enjoy shopping almost as much as you do.”
I giggled. “Hunter will enjoy having another boy around. We’re so busy though.”
Eric was grinning ear to ear but nodded in agreement. “The timing isn’t perfect.”
Pam laughed. “When is it ever?”
And just like that, the four of us decided to take in another set of ‘twins’. Eric called Mr. C while Alcide called Angela and I called Daveigh.
“Hi Daveigh. It’s Sookie.”
“Hi.” Her voice was so small. She sounded as though I had just told her that we wouldn’t help.
“Sweetie, Eric is on the phone with Mr. C now making arrangements to come get you.”
“Supes need to be raised by Supes. We’ll have plenty of rules and our lives are pretty busy, but if you and your brother want to plant your flag in Shreveport, we can keep you two together.”
“What if you don’t like us?”
“Then we’ll box you up and mail you to Mogadishu.”
She laughed weakly. “We’ve never been in one place longer than 2 years.”
“Well you’ll be going from a house full of humans to a house free of humans. I’m sure you’ll find a niche.”
“Our 5 year old is a telepath. He’s the closest to human we have. Most everyone else is Were or Vamp.”
“One SemiDaemon, and Hunter and I are both a little Dae. I’m surprised that Diantha didn’t tell you. Ask her about us. She can fill you in on a lot.”
“Des’ll shit! Diantha and Mr. C are the only other Supes we’ve ever known.”
“We don’t see humans here on the compound often. Do you guys do any school activities?”
“Naw, our fosters never had the money for that stuff.” Well, there goes small talk.
“Well, we have plenty of time to find something y’all like.” Eric came over and held his hand out for my phone again. He was unapologetic, but I handed it to him obediently. Then I stuck my tongue out at his back making Alcide and Pam laugh.
“Call me Eric. I’ve made arrangements with Mr. Cataliades. While Diantha packs her things, he will take you to your foster family and take care of things. Pam and I will be there to get you and your brother around 9 if that is alright with you.”
“Yes sir… Diantha is coming?”
“Of course she is. I’d hate for her to get grounded for her good deed, so I asked that she be allowed to visit so that she can help you get your bearings. She’s visited us several times and can serve as your tour guide.”
Pam looked over at Alcide and rolled her eyes. “There’ll be no dealing with him now.” Eric was a closet ‘good guy’, but was annoying in his enjoyment of his good deeds.
Alcide and I laughed as he continued to be charming and friendly to the poor orphan.
When I was done eavesdropping, I grabbed the tray full of food from the fridge and went out to the summer kitchen to start dinner.
I was tending to things when Eric slipped up behind me and wrapped his hands around my waist.
“Lover, it occurred to me that I didn’t ask you for your opinion.”
“No you didn’t”
“Are you upset?”
“Of course not. I think it’s cute that you have a soft spot for orphans.”
“I am not cute.”
I turned around, giggling and stretched up to give him a kiss. “Adorable.”
He growled at me. “It’s all your fault.”
“How so vampire?”
“I used to be an asshole.”
I snickered. “When did you stop?” I wasn’t fishing for him to tell me that I changed his life; I was implying that he still was an asshole and he knew it.
Surprise took over his face before he started laughing. I returned to watch over the grill and he moored up to me again. “Do you need any help getting ready for them?”
He’d started kissing my neck and giving the occasional nibble, pressing himself against me. I lost myself enough that he had to ask me a second time. “No. We’ll need to take them shopping tomorrow. I’m sure that we’ll get them through the night.”
He hummed against my ear. “I’m sure you’re right. The question, then, is: how am I going to get through the next few hours until I can get back to you, min allt?”
I wiggled myself against him and craned up to whisper into his ear. “Just remember what’s waiting for you when you get home.”
His chest vibrated against my back. “Lover, that won’t make my errand go by any faster.”
“Mmm, but it will give you something to look forward to.”
His mouth trailed from the sweet spot near my ear, slowly down my neck and to my shoulder. He’d scraped his fangs as he went along lifting his hands from my waist to his favorite new toys. But, as luck would have it, we were interrupted. We separated with a chuckle as we felt Manen and Hunter searching us out.
Hunter lunged through the back door and into Eric’s arms. “Far, can we go with you?”
“Go with me where?” Coy, on a vampire, just looked silly.
Hunter giggled, but put one little hand on either side of Eric’s face and stared him down. “To New Orleans to get our new brother and sister.”
Eric chuckled at Hunter’s attempt at intimidation and rested their foreheads together. “Kapten, Mummy and I will be leaving at bedtime and won’t be home until quite late. I’m sorry, but you will have to wait until morning to meet them.”
Hunter let out a frustrated grunt. “That’s what Mummy said.”
Eric thought it was funny, but I was on the verge of fussing at him for disrespecting Pam by trying to go around her to get what he wanted. I didn’t need to say anything to him either. Hunter humbled quickly at my scowl.
“I should go say sorry.”
Eric looked at Hunter slightly confused.
I laid it out for the little boy. “No you shouldn’t. I think it would hurt her feelings to find out that you don’t value her more, but if you do this again, we’ll have to talk about punishment.”
Hunter slid from Eric’s grasp and skulked back inside, completely deflated and Manen followed him in shaking her head smugly. I caught her thoughts. “I should have known it wouldn’t work.”
“Manen Alexis Herveaux-Northman! Did you put your brother up to that?” She stopped in her tracks like someone had hit her ‘pause button’.
She answered me without turning around. “Yes ma’am.”
“Little girl, the same goes for you. You owe Hunter an apology and don’t be cross with him either. He was willing to keep it to himself that it was your idea.”
“Yes ma’am.” As she disappeared back into the house, she silently complained about telepathy.
Eric leaned against the wall with his arms folded against his chest. “Lover, what was that?”
“That was a classic ‘end around’. One parent says no so the child goes to another parent in the hopes of getting the answer they want.”
“Or they were going up the chain of command.”
I scowled at him. “Not under this roof. As vampire you outrank Pam, sure. As parents the four of us are equals. Pam’s feelings would be hurt.”
Eric nodded thoughtfully. “Especially since it was Hunter. Is that something you did?”
“I don’t remember doing it to my parents because I was so little. But all kids do it to some extent.”
“I didn’t do it.”
“I’ll rephrase that. All kids with the option try it. You and I only had one parent, so we didn’t have that option. Ask Alcide and Pam. They both had two parents, so I’m sure they did it.”
By then Alcide had been lured outside by the smell of dinner cooking and handed me a beer. “What did I do?”
I couldn’t help but be amused by the guys’ timing. Eric never missed the chance to make ‘the big entrance’ and Alcide had a tendency to come in on the tail end (pun only a little bit intended) of a conversation that he was just mentioned in.
I thanked him for the drink with a peck on the cheek. “Did you ever get told no by one parent and then go to the other for a do-over?”
“Shit yeah. Once I got older though, I learned that there were certain parents to ask for certain things and how to be a spin-doctor.”
Eric, ever the student of human behavior, had his interest peaked. “Explain that.”
“Well… my old man was all about duty and work. My mom was a romantic. So, when I wanted to buy my first car, I took it to the old man. ‘Hey dad, I was thinking that I should get a job. I could use my savings to get a car so I wouldn’t be bugging you for a ride all the time’.” Alcide chuckled. “Done. My mom would have worried that I was too young to handle the responsibility. Dad was just proud of me for ‘becoming a man’. When I wanted to go on a date on a school night, or run with friends, mom was the one to go to because ‘there’s more to life than just work’… I guess Manen came to ask you about tagging along.”
Eric grumbled. “No, she had Hunter do it.”
Alcide laughed. “Sneaky little shit! We’re going to have to meet every time she asks for anything. She’s too smart. She’s already learned to change tactics.”
I snorted. “She threw her brother to the wolves to get it done too.”
Eric grumbled again. “She might as well be a vampire.”
Alcide and I laughed until Eric asked what was so funny. “We were just saying that this morning, but because of her vanity not her craftiness.”
Pam joined the conversation and we filled her in. She was just as proud of Manen’s creativity (as Pam called it) as Eric was at first. Even after Alcide and I explained to her that, while deception is an admirable vampire quality, disrespect isn’t a cool flag for a child to salute, I was still feeling a twinge of pride underneath her aggravation with the idea of being bypassed.
We kept things light during dinner though since every one of us were impatient if not excited to meet Daveigh and Desmond. We told the kids about the ‘new kids’ being Diantha’s age, which excited them to no end. They fell in love with her when they met during Mardi Gras. She was endlessly entertained with them. She spent hours in the courtyard of the abbey teaching them to skateboard and fight with wooden sparring katanas. Hunter and Manen got even more excited when they found out that they were semi daemons like Diantha and Mr. C, who they’d also had an immediate liking for.
He could spin a yarn like no one I knew. I was even mesmerized when he told the story of the little orphan girl who saved the queen’s life and helped her escape the evil King’s ‘dastardly plot’. Of course, I was the little girl and he edited out the gory details, but I was enthralled enough to sit on the floor with the children for the ‘fairy tale’. He had a really hard time getting away from them that night. I’m sure when he came to get Diantha next week he’d have another installment of the story, as he promised.
Later, we all had fun with the fireworks. Ok, well… they all did. I was a nervous wreck. Despite the fire pit being brought over so that the fireworks could be launched from it, Alcide and Eric held, yes HELD, bottle rockets and let the kids light them with the fireplace matches two and three at a time. I wanted to hit them for being such show offs and threatened to take that power back from them while they slept. When they ran out of bottle rockets they started to behave except for calling me a ‘party pooper’.
Eric enjoyed showing off even more by telling the kids about how lucky they were to have fun with fireworks at their age since he was nearly 300 years old before he saw any and that Queen Elizabeth loved them enough to have a royal ‘fire master’. Manen wanted to know what state Elizabeth was queen of, getting a giggle out of all of us. All in all, they only set off 2 of the six boxes but the kids had a blast. I barely looked at the display; my fun was in watching the lights dance on their awed faces.
Once dinner and the remnants of the explosives had been cleaned up, Eric and Pam were eagerly seen off and Alcide and I did some chores. I did a couple loads of laundry and cleaned the bathrooms and he vacuumed while the kids each made a ‘poster’ for the doors to Daveigh and Desmond’s new bedrooms. We tended to the babies and then let the kids play with them while we hung the posters and made sure the rooms were straight. After Manen and Hunter bathed, Alcide and I sat between their beds while he read a couple of chapters of a Hardy Boy novel (since Nancy Drew was last week) and they nearly feel to sleep, lulled by Alcide’s smooth deep voice.
It was nearly 9:30 and I had felt the distance between my vampires and home stop growing a little while ago. I had been exploring our bonds closely since then, trying to get a bead on things. After what had happened with Angela’s sister, I was a little shell shocked when it came to bringing strangers into the house. Happily, all I found in them was amusement and concern. Once the twins were checked on and the kids seemed to be done with their stall tactics, I headed to the kitchen and grabbed my phone to check for messages. I hadn’t gotten anything but a text from Eric. He’d felt me snooping around in the bond and called me nosey. I giggled and grabbed a couple of beers and headed out to the pool.
I could feel Alcide close by as I slid out of my clothes and then dove in. I swam a couple of laps underwater before I felt the depth charge of his cannonball. I was doing my best to not drown by laughing when he grabbed my ankle and pulled me to him and swam up for air.
I giggled when he kissed me. “What got into you, Beb?”
He growled at me. “These nasty bitches I know teased me today. They tried on sexy underwear and paraded around just to fuck with my head.”
I pouted at him. “That’s not right. You shouldn’t put up with it.”
“I wouldn’t if it weren’t so damn much fun.” He slid his hands down to my butt and rubbed me against him, leaning in to kiss me. I wrapped my legs and arms around him as he swam us to the side of the pool and I couldn’t help but notice that he seemed even more strong than usual.
His mouth wandered down to my nipples, biting and gnawing. He was rough and aggressive and driving me absolutely insane. He held me so tight I could barely move. His hand went to my center from behind and he started working me into a frenzy. He spun me around and pinned me to the side of the pool, shoving into me. The weightlessness of being in the pool made it easy to move as much or as little as we wanted. And we did. By the time he was done with me, I felt like I’d ridden a mechanical bull for too long. My legs were tired and weak. My ribs and throat were sore and bruised from where he’d been holding me. It was all fleeting but it was there. He really was stronger than usual…
“You’ve had Pam’s blood!”
I watched his face turn red. He was actually embarrassed. “Uhh… yeah. Why?”
“You’re not bonded though?”
“No. It was just once, about a week ago.” He still looked ashamed, but I could feel that he was proud of himself for getting past the blood ‘issues’ he has.
I giggled and slapped his shoulder. “I bet that’s why you can hear my thoughts sometimes! You’ve had her blood, by extension mine.”
He gave me a half smile. “I did it to be stronger, just in case her or Eric flipped out during the delivery.”
“Good thinking. Did it gross you out?”
“It was weird, but I wasn’t grossed out.”
“It’ll have worn off by the battle. You want any extras from me?”
He smiled as he thought about it. “No… no? No. I’m good.”
“Nothing ‘just because’?”
“No, but…” He looked like he was, I don’t know, scared to ask, maybe.
“Come on…. Just ask.”
“Can I see?”
I smiled at him and led him out of the pool. We wrapped in towels and went to sit together on a long lounge chair together. Eric had long since seen most of what I was about to show Alcide. I had replayed it in my own head so often, with every ache or pang or slight fear during the pregnancy that I’d never be able to forget it. ‘Watching’ it was like reading a warranty that PROMISED everything was going to be fine. I could feel his anticipation oozing from his every pore as I took his gorgeous face in my hands and started his preview…
The first time Eric saw his children, he saw only one scene; a few seconds. I showed him what I needed him to see at the time to put his worried mind at ease. Alcide, had seen the same thing, and this time around was going to be getting a better show…
We sat around the table, Alcide and Pam, Me and Eric and we were suddenly surrounded by children.
Manen, wearing jeans and a Fangtasia t-shirt. Her hair was still white hot blond and spiraled down past her belt. So tall and slender and starting to fill out. With the exception of her emerald green eyes, she was Eric’s daughter. Very proud and sure. Even her smile carried the weight his did. She was a very old soul.
Hunter wearing his hair long and in his eyes was standing as tall as Manen in spite of the age difference. He stood with his hands bottomed out in his pockets as Eric does when he’s trying to look aloof. His smile was wide and echoed Hadley with every facial expression.
Erika and Dagny stood side by side. Dagny in a denim jumper dress with a pink shirt under it and Erika wearing the same tom-boyish outfit as Manen… Both perfect replicas of Eric with lopsided smiles. One to the left, the other to the right…
And the Pups… IDENTICAL… Stocky and strong with pinchable cheeks, bubbling with energy and excitement as Eric and Alcide explained the rules of their game. They wore matching outfits; jeans and dark green henleys. Their short mops of black ringlets bounced and their jade green eyes sparkled, unable to contain themselves. Just like their father, who was too wrapped in his own enthusiasm to be very helpful in explaining ‘hide and seek’.
The ‘pups’ bounced up to kiss each and every one of us before they ran into the yard, flinging their clothes in every direction and stopped only to turn into perfect miniatures of Alcide in wolf form.
Once they disappeared into the woods, Pam and I sat and watched everyone else scatter. Hunter ran to an ATV to track the boys at ground level with his mental abilities. Manen ran to change into a towel to make her change more modest and ran back out to take to the sky with Eric. Lastly, Erika and Dagny. They ran into the yard and stopped to struggle with their clothes.
Alcide patiently pulled off his boots and t-shirt and changed as he ran towards them just as he had the first time he saw the scene play out. Then the three of them disappeared into the night leaving Pam and I sitting on the patio, holding hands. Laughing and listening to the sounds of the ‘wildlife’ surrounding us…
The next flash I showed him was the ‘boys’, tall for their age, at their own baptism. Alcide performing the ceremony flanked by Jason (the two of them frozen at the age they are now) and Febes as well as Manen, now a very beautiful teenage girl and the pack and the rest of the family looking on with pride…
Further forward, and the most recent of additions to my library of previews… Christmas, 30 years or so from now. From my perspective, so he was probably taken aback to see three versions of himself since the boys were both wearing their hair just like their Dad. I smiled at the look on Alcide’s face as he watched himself hug his sons, Hunter, Rhys and Kerrick (the twins still completely identical down to the slightly salted hair at their temples) and then their wives. He danced with all three of the elegant and beautiful women his daughters become. Even at their age, looking like peers to their parents (all four of us) they still called us Mom, Dad, Mum and Far, just like all of the other ‘children’… and grandchildren. Our extended family was gathered in the grand hall of the New Orleans Abbey. The backdrop for our celebration was a Christmas tree that rivaled any I had ever seen and scraped the 50 foot ceiling with gifts gloriously spilling out from underneath it and stockings hanging from the banister along both sides of the double staircase. Everyone dressed nicely, but comfortably and every face was brightened with a smile…
I’d shown him more than I had shown or described to Eric. I knew his curiosity had been chewing at him. He’d ask sporadic questions and was always a good sport when I’d give him a ‘vampire answer’ (evasive and limited). Alcide, of anyone, had earned more than he asked for. When his preview was over and I tried to pull my hands away, Alcide grabbed them and held them tight, pulling me to him and holding on.
“Sweetie, are you alright?”
He cleared his throat. “I’m uh…”
He’d nearly cried when I showed him Erika and Dagny the first time around. I’d expected him to have a strong reaction this time too. I was feeling every emotion I would have expected coming from him and decided to fold my arms around him and wait it out. I leaned into his chest and stroked his huge arm as it strapped my shoulders to him, feeling his excitement, pride, appreciation, love and smelling his tears.
I expected him to need a few minutes, not more than an hour. I didn’t mind. I was just surprised. I reached out a couple of times to check on the kids, all sound asleep. Eventually, he wiped his face as he collected himself, sniffing and chuckling at his own reaction.
“I didn’t expect that much, Shug…” He cleared his throat a few more times and still sounded choked up as he said ‘thank you’.
“I know, but you had answers coming to you. Are you ok with everything you saw? Any questions?”
“I just… I can’t believe it. When we talked before, you said that we were still together in a few years, I didn’t… that was like happily ever after, you know?”
“Yeah, big guy. I know. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to have trouble along the way, but it’s nice to see that things will work out, huh?”
He gave me a squeeze and kissed the top of my head. “Now I know why Eric would be fine with everything.”
“He doesn’t know about the last preview.”
He pulled his head back and looked down at me. “You didn’t show him all the grandkids and… there must’ve been 50 of us.”
“I just got it… when you asked to see them.”
He chuckled. “At least we know their names now. I like that… Rhys after Buck and Kerrick was my Granma’s maiden name, in case you’re wondering.”
I smiled at him. “I was wondering… I figured it was something like that though. We’re gonna have to fight the girls off them with a stick.”
He snorted and then got quiet again for a minute. “It didn’t feel different.”
“When you first told me that I was going to get you pregnant, I wondered if I’d feel different about the boys than I do the rest of the kids… Seeing Manen all grown up… It got me just as much as…” His voice started to waver again. “As any of them.”
I knew the answer when I’d first heard him ask himself. “Alcide, you already love the four we have enough to die for them. There isn’t anything more than absolute.”
“You gonna tell everyone what a pussy I am for crying?” The mood lifting joke.
I smiled at him and shook my head. If I hadn’t told anyone that the thousand year old vampire cried, I wasn’t going to tattle on Alcide.
“Shit! I don’t know if I like this ‘reading Sookie’s mind’ thing. If you tell anyone…”
He started laughing. “I won’t. I won’t. I just don’t feel so bad now.”
“Have you said anything to Pam?”
“No. I’m a pussy and a chicken shit.”
I started to get up and held my hand out for him. “You need to figure it out.”
“I know. I know.” He took my hand but didn’t use it.
“Alcide, you’ve had her blood.”
He stared at me for a minute, maybe more. “She felt that.”
“Yes she did and right now… she’s really worried and about to…” His phone rang and panic took over his face. I patted his shoulder. “Tell her everything’s fine and you can talk later, just to buy yourself the time. I’m going to hit the shower.”
He was answering the phone as I popped to my bathroom.
Normally, this time of night, I would be pulling off my clothes or having it done for me to climb into bed with my husband. But as I washed the pool water off of me, I found myself wondering what to wear to meet my new teenaged… what would I call them? They would probably never consider us their parents, even though Angela is my age and does. So I guess they would be our wards, but that seemed so cold. Not that foster sounded any better.
I gave it up. I stopped fighting things out in my head, knowing that we would just figure it all out as we went. Eric and I had been doing it and it seemed to work pretty well for us so far. As long as you don’t hold that stubborn streak I went through against me. I went to my closet and stared. Finally, I decided that I would wear what I wear all the time. No sense in putting on airs, right? I had just bought new clothes and grabbed one of my new outfits. I slid into a pair of orange capris, a white and orange paisley tank top and orange keds then jogged downstairs.
I was standing at the fridge, grabbing a beer and probing the bond to feel that Eric and Pam close enough that they were in Shreveport, when Jordie snuck up on me with an armload of boxes.
“Hey sweetie, what are you up to?”
“That’s breedism. Just because I’m a daemon, I have to be up to something?”
He’d barely gotten it out of his mouth before we were both laughing. “Yeah. That’s it.”
“Eric called me. He gave me a shopping list and asked me to make sure I have it all back at about midnight.”
I rolled my eyes. Eric loved surprises, especially high handed ones. “Jordie, do you know what he’s up to?”
I helped him start putting the boxes on the counter. He’d been sent to the Apple store. There were 2 of everything; iPods, iPhones, iMacs… Docking stations, accessories, anything you can imagine. When you have a baby, you buy a crib and diapers. Apparently, when you have a teenager, you buy electronics.
Jordie shook his head. “No. Do you know?”
“Diantha called today. She knows of a couple of kids at school who needed somewhere to stay so Eric and Pam are on their way back from New Orleans with them now. They’re both semi Dae and Diantha and Mr. C are the only Supes they’ve ever met. He’s probably going to introduce you as our ‘token Daemon’. Speaking of breedism.”
He started giggling. “Like you aren’t enough. They’ve got no experience with Supes and now they are going to live with Grand High Poobah!”
I laughed and shook my head. “I know. I talked to Daveigh and when I told her that Hunter was the closest thing to human on the property, she freaked out. It’s going to be a bit of culture shock for them. Plus, it seems that even though she said they never had money for extracurricular activities, Eric is planning on showing them how the other half lives without easing them into anything.”
“So I might be here just to soothe them.”
“Like a teddy bear.” He giggled again.
Alcide joined us just a minute later and the three of us sat in the lounge and waited anxiously for everyone to arrive. I took the time to explain to Jordie that I would need him to call Coppersmith in the morning about Jeremy’s parents to see if he could find anything we should be worried about. He shook his head over the troubled relationship the Quints had with their mother and I could feel him commiserating. He had a seemingly similar life.
We were pulled out of our depressing topic by our Vampire’s arrival in perfect time.
Eric walked through the door from the garage with his usual proud stride with two very beautiful kids behind him. Daveigh had short light brown hair, bobbed at an angle to her chin and her hazel eyes were wide with wonder. Desmond was no less impressed with his surroundings. His golden brown hair hung low and straight, brushing his shoulders. They were both about 5’8” with slender frames. Pam and Diantha were close on their heels and all smiles.
Both of them were really grateful and content to be somewhere that wasn’t just taking them in because of the monthly stipend from the state. It made me miserable to see and hear what was going through their minds when they compared their past foster homes to the new one. Eric and Alcide picked up on it right away and felt more sorry for them than they had before.
No one had told them anything about us except for Eric being the vampire king of Louisiana. So the first thing we did was convene our first family meeting to include Daveigh and Desmond. It took us two hours to explain EVERYTHING. Since they had no experience with supernaturals, they had to learn it all at once. What took me years to learn before I came into my extra extras, was given to them in a crash course. Vampires, Weres, Shifters, Fae, Dae, Witches… No nos for each breed, the specifics and scents of each, how to defend themselves and so on. That was followed by the family dynamic and extended family tree.
Eric had taken the lead. Alcide, Pam and I let him take full charge of the orientation, sending him the occasional mental memo when something slipped through the cracks of the lengthy explanation.
The newbie’s eyes had started to gloss over and Diantha raised her hand from her perch on the arm of the couch next to me. Eric chuckled as he let her take the floor.
“Um… Whatitboilsdownto… These4runthe’MericanSupes. EVERYsupeintthecountryanswerstooneofthem. DONTFUCKUP. Nopressure.”
We all smiled at her and she seemed pretty proud of herself.
They only had a few questions, pretty basic stuff and we answered them quickly and as simply as we could. Erika and Dagny finally started to stir and Diantha’s head snapped to attention with a wide and eerie smile on her face. “CanI?”
Pam stood up and took her hand and they went to the girls together, leaving the 5 of us (Jordie having left shortly after introductions with a promise of being around if they needed anything). We decided to take them on a tour of the house, earning all the oohs and ahhhs one would expect from someone who’d never been to a museum as big as our home. For two kids who’d never lived in a house bigger than 1,500 square feet, our 9,000 square foot abode was a mansion. I would know. We saved their rooms for last, surprising them that they had their own rooms and weren’t sharing with strangers or each other, even more so when Alcide told them that we’d be going shopping tomorrow to get them whatever they wanted to make them feel more at home.
The worst part of being telepathic was staring me in the face when Eric presented them with their new tech toys. Both of them, instead of feeling grateful, faked a smile to cover their suspicions. They both shared a look and thought about what we were going to expect in return.
Eric surprised them. The one thing we had glossed over in orientation was the full scope of our powers. He grinned at both of them and answered their silent queries. “We expect nothing in return except that you respect us and our rules… You will be treated like family as long as you act like family.”
Daveigh barely squeaked an answer. “What if we don’t know how?”
Alcide chuckled at her. “Girlie, if this womanizing, ruthless, war mongering, thousand year old vampire can figure it out… You can.” He gave her a wink, earning him half a smile.
I finally spoke in a full sentence. “Guys, look, I can tell, because I’ve seen and heard your thoughts since you walked in, that you’ve gone through a lot. All of us have chinks in our armor. Eric and I weren’t raised by our parents. Alcide’s parents redefined dysfunction and Pam was raised by a governess even though her parents were under the same roof. Hunter’s mother became a vampire before he was weaned and was dead again by the time he was 3 then his father died in January and Manen’s father died a couple years ago leaving her to stay with strangers while her mother wasted away from cancer. There isn’t a single one of us who knew what a family could be like until we got together. You’ll have plenty of time to get used to the idea, but it seems like everyone who makes their way to us figures it out. You’re here. You’re safe. You have a roof over your head and plenty of food for your stomach. Tomorrow, you’ll have a brand new wardrobe and everything you can carry out of the mall. You will have to occasionally choke down a bitter political pill, but right now, your biggest concern is deciding if you want to be home schooled or pick a private school. Okay?”
They both stared at me for a moment before nodding and then Des collected himself. “You said you heard our thoughts.”
“I’m a telepath.”
“Is that your only power?”
Eric and Alcide laughed. “I’m known as ‘The Infinite’. It comes from my complex genealogy. I have a lot of powers, most of them mental. I don’t do a whole lot of mind reading anymore. I was only screening you out of paranoia. We had a reporter try to take the babies while we were in the hospital just to get their first picture and we’re dealing with an annoying Fae problem right now. Hunter and I both keep our shields up and stay out of heads as often as we can.”
“Lover, the mind phone?”
I smiled up at him and then turned to the kids. I sent: “Hunter and Manen call it the mind phone… It should feel like a slight vibration just behind your ear… It’s like a mental intercom that we all use here. Once you get used to it, you can call out to specific folks, but until then you’ll more than likely broadcast to everyone.”
Their eyes got really wide and Alcide tried to help. “It’s fun once you get used to it. I lost my keys last week and Pam told me from work that they were on the bathroom counter.”
“A mind reading werewolf!!?”
Eric started shaking his head. “No. It’s a part of Sookie’s telepathy. You have to use the connection on purpose. Without it, Sookie, Hunter and I are the only ones in the house who can hear your thoughts.”
“A mind reading VAMPIRE!!?”
Eric looked at me and rolled his eyes before he gave them a brief rundown of mine and his powers and they both stood in front of us and gawked. “…Maybe, you two should turn in. A little rest would do a lot of good. It’ll help things sink in. Yes?”
They both nodded and we led them to their rooms.
Diantha had to tear herself away from the babies to join Daveigh and stopped to look up at Eric with a big smile. “They’reawesome.”
He smirked at her. “Yes they are.”
“I wanted to hold them before my little buddies could get jealous.”
“Smart. They’re very excited about your visit.”
She jerked her head towards Daveigh’s door. “TheyOK?”
“It’s a lot of information for them at once, but I think they’ll be fine.”
That earned her a chuckle. “To say the least.”
“I’ll dowhatIcan. Night.”
Pam reminded me that she wanted to hear the girls talk to each other, so she and Alcide gave us their good nights and we parted ways to turn in for the night.
Eric stubbed his toe against the bed again as he climbed in. “I wish I had slept on the plane like the children did. Getting tired is the one thing I haven’t gotten used to.”
I smiled at him. “At least there are wake ups… How did things go with the foster parents?”
“Useless, infuriating, loathsome. They argued our intentions of taking the children. They accused Pam and I of wanting to drain them. All the while, the male had been exploiting Desmond for gambling money. He had him going to ATMs to supply him with funds for riverboats. The female had been completely blind to their powers and was having Daveigh act as a slave. I wanted to drain them both. I’m very pleased that Pam hasn’t been gifted telepathy. We would have had a lot of cleaning up to do.”
“It’s no wonder they were suspicious. I hope they like it here.”
I snuggled up to him. “I’m sure they will… Now we have something to discuss. What was I feeling? As we made our way home? It was centered on Alcide and…”
“He asked to see the boys.”
He smiled instantly. “And?”
“Well, when he asked, I had another preview. I showed him the bigger picture of what he’d seen before, the baptism and the latest one. He was very impressed.”
“What was the latest one of, Lover?”
I laughed a little. Eric had been nosey about flashes, but since we shared the power he considered it ‘comparing notes’ rather than being anxious. “It was a good one. You want me to just show you?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
The preview only took about 10 minutes to play out. We’d already been snuggled together so we hadn’t needed to move. He laid there with his arm wrapped around my shoulder, enjoying the scene and I watched his face change with his experience. Seeing the children, all of them, grown and with families of their own. It was like watching a reunion episode of a show you’d grown up watching.
“Well, with 6 kids, it was bound to happen.” I couldn’t help but laugh. “It kind of shoots down your expectations of not letting the girls date until menopause though.”
He gave my shoulder a squeeze and chuckled. “We’ll see… It’s good to finally know the boys’ names. Rhys and Kerrick are very good choices.”
I grunted. “It kind of takes the fun out of it though. Self fulfilling prophecy, we know what we name them, and that’s why. It’d be nice to buy a baby naming book.”
“We chose the middle names for the girls on our own though.”
I nodded. “Truth be told, I would have wanted to use Erika and Rhys anyway. Kerrick makes sense too. But Dagny is out of nowhere… I guess we have a while to work on middle names for the boys.”
“You don’t know about Dagny?”
I tilted my head up to look at him. “No. I know it means ‘new day’ and you being a day walker and getting me pregnant happened around the same time. Is it someone from your past or…”
“Sookie, I assumed you knew since you’ve seen so many flashes from my life… Dagny was the name of my ship. The one that I took to the Netherlands. The one that took me from my miserable life. ‘Dagny Bidan’. New Day Waiting.”