Clapter 23

Beautiful Morning

Sookie’s POV

Sunday, January 10th
“Of course you should, can I help?” I gave Eric an inquisitive look. “…I think since we have children in the house I should learn some basics, don’t you?” I smiled at him, well I guess it was more of a beam really. I was really proud of him for thinking of it. Sure, if it came down to it, he could order out for the kids if he were left to his own devices but it means more that he wants to learn to do it for them.

“Okay then, get over here.” I got out potatoes, onion and pepper for the home fries and two cutting boards and knives. I showed him how to peel the onion and take the seeds out of the pepper and we dumped it all into the pan. I heated up the skillet for the country fried steak and I showed him how to break the eggs and by the time he was done whipping them, they were nearly foam. I showed him how to dredge the sirloin and fry it and my hands never touched the biscuits; I told him how to do it and he did it all. We made the milk gravy and the sausage gravy for the biscuits together and he watched over things while I started the coffee and poured juice and mixed chocolate milk. We were just getting done when I could feel Alcide’s brain, so I heated the pan for the fried eggs. He watched me carefully crack the eggs to leave the yolk intact and he followed my lead.

“Eric, its 7am. Is the cloud cover from the rain why you can still be up?”

“I don’t know why, but I feel no pull to rest. I want to try to make it as long as I can. I’m sure if the rain clouds pass and the sun comes out I’ll feel it though… Lover, your clothes.” He nodded towards my body.

“What about them? Uh…Oh!…Shit, Jason.” I ran upstairs and threw on a short white silk robe to fix the whole ‘obviously pierced’ problem. Eric was sliding 3 eggs onto a plate and breaking 3 more when they walked in laughing like old pals. But they stopped dead when they saw Eric standing in the kitchen over the stove. Alcide did a double take and looked at his watch.

“What the fuck are you doing up old man?” He gave me a quick kiss and patted Eric on the shoulder on his way to the sink to wash his hands. Jason went to the bathroom to do the same.

Eric shrugged “We were just talking about that. The weather, maybe?” I started plating food for Alcide and Eric aped everything I did on another plate for Jason. I poured 2 cups of coffee and gave Jason his chocolate milk. Eric fried 3 more eggs for me and then plated my food without help. Alcide was watching him intently.

“Eric, when did you learn to cook?”

Eric smiled at his success, “Sookie just let me help make breakfast. I figured since we have the kids, and you and Sookie will start traveling soon, knowing some basics would be practical.”

Alcide looked at me and then back at Eric. “Good call… I hope you don’t mind, Shug, but I invited company for dinner tonight.”

I smiled at him. That was SO something a husband would tell a wife. “Who’s the company?”

“Well, I offered to let Jason crash here so that he can run again tonight…” I thought I’d slap him. I was afraid that seeing Jason might freak Manen out since I didn’t even want to see it. The bitten look like what most every movie Were did, they’re scary. Eric didn’t seem happy about the idea either. “…and the 5 of us from the Zoo the other night; Tray, Febes, Dozer, Azo and Skip. They all ran with Shreveport last night and I invited them out to sniff around the property and meet the rest of the family today. I told them that I was staying close to home tonight and why. Turns out that Febes is a full shift… You knew that. You mad?”

I smiled at him. “Just that I can’t go with you.” And that my brother was going to be here all day, so that completely threw a wrench in my ‘quite day’ scenario and that he may very well scare the crap out of my kids. “Hmmm. Fried chicken, ribs, squash stewed tomatoes and crab cakes. Sound good?”

Jason’s eyes lit up and he nodded between shoveling food into his mouth. Alcide grinned at me. “You’re being a great sport, Sookie, thanks.”

I smiled at him.

“Shug, are you really ok with it. I know it’s a lot. I can call them and tell them never mind.”

“We can talk about it later. I love you anyway.”

Eric butted in. “It’s not the guards. She’s happy to have them. It’s her fool brother, but he’s family. We have to deal with him. Not every girl can be as lucky as Janice.” He walked by Alcide and delivered a manly slap on Alcide’s arm and disappeared up the stairs.

“Shug, what did you do with this big empty house all night?”

He laughed at me when I told him.

“I’d kill for your energy.”

“You don’t have to.” I walked over and climbed up onto the back of the stool and hugged his ribs crisscrossing my arms over his chest and closed my eyes to concentrate on sending energy. I heard Jason yelp, so I assumed I was glowing. I knew I had been when I was done because I was starving. So I offered and plated seconds for everyone including myself.

“Sookie. You’re a walking energy drink.”

**

Eric came up behind them and held out a pair of shorts and a t-shirt out for Jason. “So you can bathe and your sister can launder your clothing.”

Jason swallowed his food and took them from Eric. “You got no idea how much I appreciate this. Thank you.” Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. My brother recognized the value in a kindness. My shock bounced of off Eric’s in the bond and we both snickered at it.

Eric covered it with conversation. “So what do you do during the day, Sookie?”

I laughed. “You’re looking at it. Alcide and I eat breakfast then feed the kids when they wake up. I do his hair and then we go do what we have to do. Today I need to go to Target and the grocery store for the stuff for dinner. Then we’ll come home and play with the kids and do chores until it’s time to make dinner. The only thing really going on today is the tour buses will be here after noon. So I’ll have to get home before then.”

I felt the kids wake up so I scrambled some eggs for them and plated their food just as they were coming down. I set their plates down and the room might as well have been empty but for Eric.

“Far! Far! You’re up! How are you in the light?” They had launched themselves at him and he was holding one on each hip after they both kissed him. He was explaining that he wasn’t sure but he really liked seeing them wake up.

Jason looked at me more than a little impressed. “They really like him, huh?” He also wasn’t smart enough to realize that Eric could hear every conversation in a football stadium and understand them all.

“Yeah. They really do. Me and Pam are chopped liver compared to ‘My 2 Dads’ here. Daddy and Far are the coolest thing since juice boxes.”

Alcide grabbed me around the waist and pulled me onto his lap. “That might be true, but we are very aware that you are the best thing since a Vegas Wedding.”

“Hey! Speaking of weddings, did I tell you what I got for our trip to Manhattan? “

“What?”

I smiled as big as I could. “Courtside. Knicks v. Celtics!”

“Are you kidding? That’s incredible! We’ll get our asses kicked for going into the Garden in green!”

“I thought you’d appreciate that.” He gave me a kiss. “I chartered a tour to Liberty too. We’ll get to go up at night and I was thinking that one night we could take the kids to the skating rink in central park. We can do the museums and stuff with the kids during the day, take them to a matinee of Lion King. There will probably be 2 nights that you and Pam will have them on your own while we do wedding stuff. So you should sit down with her and think of a plan”

He was really excited at the idea of a family vacation. “I can take Pam shopping and you and Eric can go out too. All of a sudden I’m excited to be going to a strangers wedding.” We talked tourist options for a few minutes before I announced that we needed to get a move on.  The kids argued with me.

Manen started. “Momma, can’t we stay here with Far?…”

“…Please!” Hunter finished.

“Oh, I don’t think so guys, if the clouds break while we’re gone Far will have to go to bed.”

“Hey Sook, I’ll be here. I can hang out with them if he has to turn in. It’s the least I can do. I bet we could have some fun on that playground out back, right guys?” Thanks a lot Jason.

I was hit with a wall of begging and pleading, even from Eric.

I hopped down off of Alcide’s lap. “What are y’all waiting for? Alcide, go clean up so we can go. Kids, go to the den and do your assignments for Angela.”

I walked over to Eric and wrapped my arms around his ribs, looking up him. “Sweetie, how are you feeling? Are you up to this?”

“I feel great. It’s nearly 9am and I feel fully rested. I haven’t felt the slightest pull. Your brother and I will go to the den and we’ll play video games and you and Alcide can take your time. If anything happens I can ‘call’ you and so can the kids. We’ll do fine.”

“If you say so, Boss.” I started cleaning up after breakfast and Eric helped.

“Are you placating me?” He was half joking. The other half was feeling challenged.

“Nope. I’ve known you long enough to know that if you say you can do something, it’ll get done and well.” I went over and kissed him; he smiled in return.

**

Once the kitchen was taken care of, I went upstairs and pulled on a bright green pair of bikini briefs and matching demi bra, I layered 2 short tank tops (a bright blue one under a ‘granny smith’ green one), I picked the brighter blue ‘no rise’ jeans that Alcide had bought yesterday, I picked a pair of matching green all star high tops and I finished it off with a huge enameled butterfly belt buckle with swirls of blues and greens. I decided that looked enough like a mall rat that I would leave my hair down instead of wearing a ponytail. I grabbed a denim shirt that matched my jeans and bounced out of my bedroom and down the stairs.

When I got into the kitchen Eric was sitting with Hunter on his lap and drawing while Manen was reading a book out loud to them as part of her homework. I went to the fridge and grabbed 2 bottles of Snapple and a couple of milk cartons dropping them off with the kids and stopping in the bathroom for a brush and ponytail holders. I pulled Manen’s hair back in a pony tail while she read and then I went over and tended to Alcide’s hair. It seemed wilder today but I still only sectioned off enough to give him a top knot. It wasn’t going to hide his face but it was still loose. I opened my tea and downed it in one shot so I grabbed another one. It wasn’t long before Manen was done.

“Manen, sweetie. Can you pick Far up?” I used my powers to float him up. “Just in case.”

“I should be able to.” She picked him up and moved him around a little. They flashed a big smile at each other.

“Wow! Good job! So if something happens, do your best to get him to a light tight area. Angela’s hall is the best one downstairs. K?” They all nodded. “Okay, now gimme kisses. I need to get going.”

Jason was just coming back downstairs when Alcide and I were on the way out to the garage. He didn’t get a kiss but we did wave. I was dialing Calvin before the garage door was open. His voicemail picked up but I left a message for him to call me back.

**

“Alright, Shug. Hit me with it.”

“Huh? What?” Eloquent, I know.

“You’re mad at me for inviting your brother to hang out.”

I scooted over to him as close as I could get and hugged his arm, laying my head on his shoulder. “I’m not angry. I know why you did it. Other than being hung up on all of the shitty things he’s done to me I’m just worried that he’ll scare the kids. Bittens are so ugly, they freak even me out.”

He rested his hand on my thigh. “I won’t do anything like that anymore without talking to you first, I promise. Are you sure that you are ok with the guards coming over?”

“No, I’m more than fine with that. For that matter, they’re welcome to crash at the house. The buses will be here and I’ll have the catering come early enough that we can eat before Tray starts his thing.

He chuckled wryly. “Shug, what did he do to you to make you prefer strangers in the house and around the kids to him?”

“He treated me like something stuck to his shoe.” I stared out the window for a minute. “Most recently, he slapped me so hard he knocked me off my feet when Gran was killed, he blamed me for being a fangbanger. Then he invited the uncle that molested me to her funeral. He didn’t do it out of meanness. He did it because he’s stupid. I’ll take mean over stupid any day. Mean you can see coming… Did y’all have fun last night?” I was ready to change the subject.

He didn’t answer me but he had gotten the hint. “Where are we going first?”

I smiled at him. “Target, I want to grab the kids some more clothes. They’ll need something to wear to the funeral, so will I. Hotshot isn’t fancy so designer labels would stand out. Almost all of my clothes are either too casual or too slutty anyway.”

He eyed me for a second. “What category does that fall into?”

“I think it falls directly in the middle. Especially given that just wearing these jeans inspires impure thoughts from both of my men. I think my other jeans might get dusty.”

He looked down and smiled at my waistline. “I think I’ll run up to Macy’s later and buy them out.”

I giggled as I climbed out of the car. “Nice to know you’re enjoying the view.”

“Have you noticed how hard you’re getting? You’re starting to pop a little six pack. That and the belly button jewelry are a hot combination”

I laughed at that. “When I tried them on in the store I remember thinking that a tramp stamp would look great in them.” He eyed me again eventually closing his eyes and swallowing. “Hmmm. That gives me something to think about. I’d have to check with Eric though. If he’s okay with it, I can get one as a souvenir of New York City.” I winked at him.

“Check with Eric, huh?”

“Well sure, he’d have to look at it more than me. The only reason I didn’t ask before the piercings was because they aren’t permanent.”

He had just grabbed a cart so I went over and opened the child seat and hopped up into it leaving my legs to dangle over the handle bar and put my hands behind my head faking a relaxed position (and showing off more of my bare stomach).

He pushed the cart down the main aisle to the women’s department and stopped. I faked a pout. “I’m stuck. Help.” He grabbed me under the arms with a smirk on his face and I lifted my legs and wrapped them around him. He lifted me and he stood there holding me, kissing me, squeezing me against him. I whispered in his ear. “We should hurry up and get done here.” He groaned as he put me down delivering one last kiss. I started sorting through the racks. “Besides, the sooner we are done shopping, the sooner we can go back to your house and check your mail.” I wiggled my eyebrows and his eyes lit up.

He quickly found an outfit for me and went to the children’s department and grabbed clothes for the kids, then shoes, then to the kitchen department for a few things. We were done in Target within 15 minutes. On our way to the car I started to laugh and he gave me a look. “In and out in under 15 minutes. I guess I don’t need a leash after all.” He was smiling as he started the car and took us to the grocery store.

**

Things weren’t moving along as quickly as I had hoped. I grabbed a bag of blow pops and started one while we were waiting for the butcher. Alcide’s eyes never left my mouth while we dealt with the meat counter or the seafood counter. I was chattier than necessary as an excuse to keep taking the sucker out of my mouth slowly. The guy weighing the crab meat was even enjoying the show but Alcide was too distracted to notice. We spent about half an hour in the store and Alcide was clenching his jaw while he was loading the groceries into the back of the truck. When we climbed in he gave me a pained look.

He started the engine. “Sookie, that sucker is torturing me.”

I took it out of my mouth slowly and then stared at it and then shot eyes at him. “I guess you’d better drive then.”

When we got to his house he came over to my side, scooped me out and carried me to the front door. “I need you to open it. I left my keys at the house.” I had thrown the bolts before he was done with the statement and he pushed the door open and carried me to the bedroom. He climbed into the middle of it and set me down. He stayed on his knees, hovering over me as he pushed my head into the mattress with his kiss. I brought my hands up and grabbed his hair behind his ears and held his mouth to mine while we breathlessly assaulted each other’s faces. We were both panting and growling when he put his hand on the front of my jeans and started rubbing my center. I wrapped my free leg around the back of his and reached down to grab the bulge in his jeans to start stroking it. He moaned into my mouth and then moved to pant against my neck. We went on like that for a while before I rolled us onto our sides. One hand was pulling my hair; the other was on my throat. I was laying on one of my arms and using the other to stroke him. It occurred to me to try something new. Instead of doing the individual things that I done to him on the couch, I picked his brain and found his memory of how it made him feel. I rolled on top of him and pinned his hands to the bed.

“Alcide, I just got a wild idea.” I was panting and if I didn’t end this soon, I was going to regret it.

“Hmmm, will I like it as much as I like this?”

I smiled at him wickedly. “Hopefully.” No sooner than I spoke, I ‘put’ most of what he felt before back into his body like I would put a disc in a DVD player and slide the drawer shut. He immediately began squirming and moaning. When I let his hands go, I didn’t have the chance to sit back before he reached up and pulled my body down to meet his and rolled on top of me. He buried his face in my neck, grinding our bodies together and gasped my name a few times before his chest started vibrating against mine. He growled against my neck so deeply that I felt my whole body vibrate as he came.

Alcide didn’t move a muscle, except the ones that helped him breath for several minutes while he slowed his gasping. I ran my fingertips lightly up and down his back and waited.

Ultimately, he lifted his head and stared at me with a euphoric smile. “What was that? How did you do it?”

I was excited that he was ready to talk about it and I smiled at him as big as I had ever smiled before. “What did it feel like? How did it feel? I’m sorry I used you as a guinea pig but you’re the only one whose mind I can search.”

“I can’t really explain it. It was like Friday night on the couch. It felt great. Can you do it again?” He looked just as excited as I did about the new technique.

I laughed at him but gave him a pouty face. “Sorry sweetie. We need to start for home. Do you want to hear the good news?”

He dropped down for a big kiss. “Shoot.”

“That was so easy, I can do that from anywhere in the house and throw the dam on top of it without worrying about hurting you.”

“No shit! Pam’s going to be willing to wash your feet!”

I couldn’t help but laugh at the mental image as Alcide rolled off of me and pulled close to snuggle.

**

We rested on the bed wrapped in each other for barely a minute before there was a harsh knock on the door. We looked at each other with wonder for a second before it was repeated. Alcide was not happy. He grunted and then barked. “Who is it?”

“It’s Carla sweetheart. Open up.” She was faking friendliness.

“Go away. I’m busy.” We got up anyway, knowing she wouldn’t just go away and walked out to the living room together.

“I just want to talk.” He looked at me apologetically and took my hand before he opened the door.

Her nostrils flared instantly. “Oh, I didn’t know you had company.”

I gave her a dirty look. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you go to hell for lying? You spotted us as we left the grocery store parking lot and followed us back. You’ve been listening from your car the whole time.”

Carla smiled at me, completely free of remorse.

“Ok, Carla. What can I do for you?”

“Well after last night I thought you might want a repeat.” I snorted at that.

She snarled at me. “What’s so funny about that, slut?”

“If he wanted a repeat he probably wouldn’t have come straight to me for breakfast and dessert.”

Alcide looked down at me and beamed as he put his arm around me. He thought it was cute that I was being territorial over him.

“You’re nothing but a trick. What do you know about what he wants.”

I shrugged and sassed her. “Um, because I can read minds… and I tend to ask him.” He locked the door behind us as we slipped past her to get in the truck.

She yelled after him. “Would you really rather have that slut instead of me?”

He let go of me and crossed the yard to her in just a few steps to loom over her. “Are you really that hung up on yourself to not realize that she is better than you in every way? You were nothing but a rebound for me anyway. Find another way to spend your time, or find another state to obsess from.”

She was a lot of things but perceptive wasn’t one of them. She took a step towards him and got right up in his face in spite of the growl coming from him. “Just because you fuck a vampire’s pet doesn’t mean you have enough pull to make me leave the state.”

I felt like I was watching it in slow motion as Alcide bent his knees and looked like he was about to lunge at her.

I jumped between the two of them and stretched my arms out between their two chests. “Carla, you need to back off. What the fuck is wrong with you that you want to be with someone who doesn’t want you? Being lonely isn’t a good enough reason to make yourself look pathetic. When you were together you thought that he was immature and un-PC and had the attention span of a monkey on a banana boat; basically a caveman. You hated that he would rather watch comedies than documentaries. You hated that hogs the bed and not the covers. You hated that when he does laundry, he leaves the load in the dryer until he wants it. You hate that he drinks and dances. You hate that he doesn’t alphabetize his movies or his CDs. You hate that you can’t get him to get a respectable haircut . Most of all, you hate that when he told you that it wasn’t working out  between the two of you, he had beaten you to the punch, but you didn’t spend one minute missing him until you saw him laughing and having fun with me. I know this isn’t about me, it could have been any other bitch on the planet but last week at the picnic it irked the living shit out of you that he looked happy. You need to know, this isn’t a threat and I am not posturing over ‘my man’, I am telling you this as a spectator. Find someone whose every move and word doesn’t irritate the skin off your knuckles. No one ever hears about happily ever after with a fixer upper even if he is a great lay.”

She had rocked back on her hip and folded her long arms across her chest. “What about you? You couldn’t possibly want him as is!” Alcide was fuming and growled at her.

“Carla, not that you can understand it, but I LOVE Alcide, AS IS. We are best friends. I love that he is young at heart, that he goes filter free from time to time, that we can lay on the couch with a pint of ice cream and let go of a shitty day by watching cartoon violence, that we go out drinking and dancing together. We both organize our CDs and movies by genre. I do the laundry in our house and leave an outfit on the dryer for him. I love his hair, long or short because he’s happy with it. I love that he gets me. You just need to find someone who gets you.”

She didn’t say anything she just stared at us in turn. Alcide put his hand over the one I put on his chest and started to gently pull me to the car.

When we got in the car and buckled up he leaned over and gave me a long kiss. “Thank you, Shug. I was about to lose my temper. Don’t ever doubt yourself as a Justice. That was all the evidence you need to know you’ll be great at it.”

I leaned into him and returned the kiss and we sat in the car and calmed each other down for a few minutes before he started the engine and took us home, leaving Carla fuming in his yard.

**

We drove the rest of the way quietly and we went in to check on things before we unloaded.

We had just come into the kitchen when I heard Jason yelling. “Get up you stupid vampire so I can finish you!”

Followed by Eric sniping back: “What makes you think you could take me out?”

So Alcide and I ran to the den in a panicked hurry. When we got there, Eric and Jason were playing the Underworld video game. The kids had buried the coffee table in legos and were building their own little city.
Alcide patted my shoulder and gave me a relieved look. “Shit Eric. I can’t trust you for a minute. I go to the grocery store and you’re already cheating on me!” They both started laughing as Alcide bounced over the back of the couch and sat next to Eric.

“Ok boys, I’m going to go get dinner started and put out some lunch.” Eric grabbed my wrist as I turned to go.

“You’re starting dinner this early? Can I help?”

I smiled down at him. “Sure. I’d like that.”  When Eric got up so did Alcide so Jason asked the kids if they wanted to go play outside.

Alcide looked at the kids and told them they could as soon as the legos were back in the bin. I smiled at him and he shrugged. “Those things hurt like a sum-bitch when you step on them barefoot.”

**

Eric, Alcide and I unloaded the truck. Eric frowned when he saw the clothes that I bought. He had stilted opinions on polyester and any garment that cost less than a mint.

“Honey, I know they’re horrible but they’re for the funeral.”

“I called Calvin to offer our condolences. He told me that it’ll be Tuesday at 10am. He’s letting us take care of the spray for the casket. I ordered stargazer lilies and white roses and I had an arrangement sent to her sister too.”

Alcide and I were both a bit shocked at how Eric handled things since funerals were such a human thing. “Thank you. I guess that’s why Calvin didn’t call me back.”

Alcide, Eric and I started prepping the food for the evening. I showed Eric how to rub the ribs and wrap them for brazing. I soaked the chicken in buttermilk and we put the crab cakes together so that all I would have to do is drop them in the oil. Eric made a pot of chili all by himself and once everything was started or preset we cleaned up together and started making sandwiches. I made mine, Jason’s and Alcide’s, Eric stacked the kids’ and Alcide grabbed drinks, chips and plates for everyone. It all must have looked very choreographed, but it couldn’t have felt more natural.

It was 12:30 and the sun was still hiding behind the clouds but it was a wonder to me that Eric seemed fine. “Eric, honey, have you ever done this before?”

There was no pause, he knew exactly what I was talking about. “Never. Not even close. Until these past few days I have never as much as stirred while the sun is up except for the one time in Rhodes. And this, being awake all day, is very strange. I know that is because of you, but whether it was caused by what happened in the bathroom or if it is a new power, I can’t say.”

Alcide took the bait. “What happened in the bathroom?”

Eric jumped at the chance to explain. “We were having sex and when we came she glowed like she does when she’s healing and then she blacked out and went limp. When she woke up a few moments later she was starving even though she had been eating all night. She ate 2 oranges and a container of strawberries.”

Alcide sat stunned for a minute. “Holy shit! Could you be human again?”

Eric looked amused for a second but that moved to concern. He quietly opened a drawer and took out a knife and cut open the palm of his hand. We all watched anxiously as the wound started to close itself back up. “Still a vampire, but for today, a day walking one.”

**

Alcide walked to the back door and called everyone in for lunch.

The kids charged into the room and sat at their places and ate hungrily as did the 3 chewing grownups. Alcide cleared his throat and took a swig of his tea. “Eric, did Sookie tell you she was thinking of getting a tattoo?”

I nearly choked on my soda. “Oh! You are SO going to pay later.” Jason had actually stopped eating. I could feel myself blushing and Alcide was looking like a dog with a fresh bone. Pun intended.

Eric walked over to me and studied me. “Tell me Lover, where were you thinking of putting this tattoo?”

I was still staring Alcide down and he was starting to chuckle.

“I was thinking about getting it low on my back. Really low.”

“And what were you thinking of for the design?”

“Something feminine. Flowers, maybe birds. I was going to let you and Alcide decide since I never check out my own butt.”

Eric turned to Alcide and the two of them forgot that I was in the room at all. “Alcide, do you know of a place in the area?”

“Yeah. There’s a place just about 10 minutes from here. A guy in the pack owns it. He does great work. He’d be honored to do her.”

“Would the shop be open tonight?”

“Sure. I can call him to make sure he’s there to do it too.” Eric smiled down at me licked his lips and in a blur was gone and then sitting on the stool next to Alcide with the laptop. Within minutes they were flipping through site after site shopping for my tattoo.

Jason finally broke his silence. “Sookie, you’re getting a tramp stamp?”

Eric shot him a dirty look, but didn’t say anything. “Yes, Jason, it appears that I am.”

“I heard that they really hurt and they take a long time to heal.” I smiled at him.

“I heard that too.” I went around the bar and wedged between the two of them I hooked one of my legs around Alcide’s and then Eric’s so that I was perched on both of their knees where we ‘shopped’ for nearly an hour before the intercom for the front gate buzzed. So I had Jason buzz them all in and I ran out to meet them and show them where to park. It only took about 15 minutes for them to get situated and run the power lines into the garage through the window. When I got back in the guys were all sitting where I had left them.

I called the kids and told them about the busy night and that they needed to go get a nap and they kissed us all and went up to bed. Then I turned to the men in my life.

“Jason, you should go sack out on the couch for a while too.” He nodded and went to lie down. It hadn’t been a suggestion. It was mean, I know, but I really wanted some peace and quiet. He wasn’t being annoying, I’ll give him that much, but I felt like I was babysitting him.

“Now, for you two. What am I going to do with you?” They both wiggled their eyebrows at me. “You know what I mean. Have you decided what I’m having done to my body?”

Eric started. “We have it narrowed down to three.”

“Can I see?” They both slapped their knees in unison. Once I climbed up they showed them to me and I was as torn as they were so Eric decided to print all three and get the tattoo artist make the call. We were looking at a few more sites when there was a knock at the front door.

**

Since the call box at the gate never buzzed, I dismounted my laps and grabbed my purse and took out my gun. I was at the front door, Eric and Alcide were crouched behind it. I did a mental stretch and it was Weres.

“Who is it?”

“Febes, Dozer and Tray. You need to do something about that gate.”

I opened the door and lowered the gun. “Thanks Febes. We’ll get on that.” I reached up and gave them all hugs and when I closed the door I introduced Febes and Dozer to Eric. He held a hand out to them and they limply shook it. I couldn’t help but laugh at that. Even Tray was without words. “Come on back to the kitchen guys. It’s where we spend most of our time.” I led them all back and offered them drinks.

Without a hint of secrecy to his voice Eric stated, “Sookie, they are staring at me.” Then he chuckled and grabbed a true blood and handed it to me. I ‘opened’ it and handed it back to him.

I laughed, “Guys. We don’t know what’s going on either. He just never went to rest this morning.”

Febes wasn’t acting as surprised as everyone else. “I knew a vampire at one of my duty stations that was a day-walker. He said it didn’t happen until he hooked up with some guy that was part Fae.” She shrugged. “Nobody believed him because of the whole Vamp/Fae thing though. That’s just what he told everybody.”

The guys were too chummy to ask questions so it was left to me. “Could he go into the sun? Did he sleep at all?”

Febes shrugged again. “He said that direct sun was annoying but he could tolerate it. I don’t know about sleeping though.”

They talked while I brought out the chicken and drained it and started heating the oil.

While that started, I had the chance to sit so I grabbed a beer from the fridge and went to sit and ended up back on their knees. This time I leaned against them to relax. We laughed and talked and visited for a few minutes before Azo and Skip arrived and I needed to start the chicken. Tray had answered the front door and explained to them about the vampire in the kitchen being awake during the day like he was telling children they were about to meet the ‘real Santa Claus’.

I served their drinks, Jason stole a piece of chicken, Alcide put the ribs on the grill, Eric and I tended to the crab cakes. It was turning out to be just like any family get together I could imagine.

Pam’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when she came around the corner to see her master in the kitchen serving chili to Weres but it didn’t keep her from giving me a tonguey kiss and a goose causing a few throats to clear. Angela, Hunter and Manen woke up and met everyone and within an hour of everyone arriving dinner was served. After everyone was done eating and socializing Alcide took our company through the back door to show them the property and Eric and I cleaned up the kitchen. Pam and Angela took off to treat Hunter to ‘Kid Zone’ and Manen thumb wrestled and won against Jason while she waited anxiously to go for her first run.

Alcide came to get Jason and Manen and set me on the counter to kiss me goodbye.

“We’ll only be gone for a couple of hours. I can’t wait to see it.” Then he disappeared into the back yard. I gave Jason a little hug and congratulated Manen as they left.

**

I turned to Eric, realizing that we were alone again. He came over to me where I was still perched on the counter and wrapped his arms around me.

“Are you ready?”

“I’m surprised that you are. I’m shocked that you’d be okay with something so permanent.”

“Over the years I have come to appreciate a well placed tattoo.” He wrapped my legs around him and carried me out to the charger to put me in. He seemed just as excited as I was.

Once we were on the road he started to wonder. “Lover, you told Alcide that you wanted a tattoo and were mad when he told me.”

“It just came up. We were talking about how much you both like this cut of jeans on me and I mentioned that when I tried them on in the store I thought that a tattoo would look great in them too. The only subterfuge was how Alcide blindsided me bringing it up. I wanted to talk to you about it. I was thinking about getting it as a souvenir when we go to New York.”

Eric smiled and started to chuckle. “I thought it was funny myself. You looked like you were going to hit him. Are you scared?”

“Not really. I’m really excited. This is going to be new for me.”

“I’ve had a few tattoos. They hurt but not too bad to stand.”

“You ‘had’ tattoos?”

“Tribal markings from when I was alive made from ash. They were gone after about 150 years. I had a few more that faded and went away over the years. I lost a couple because of… injuries.”

“I had never thought of that… I would have guessed that vampires would heal too fast to get one.”

“You have to have a vampire do it, for their speed and they have to use a silver needle.”

“Well. That explains why I see so few tattooed Vampires then.” I giggled. The last couple of minutes we rode in an excited silence and when we pulled up I bounced out of the car without waiting for Eric to open the door for me but I let him open the door to the shop.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by a giant of a Were. He looked exactly as I pictured a Were tattoo artist would. He had dark eyes and strong features, he shaved his head and had a Zuni bear fetish tattooed on the side of it. He sported a fu manchu and his tattoos went from the backs of his hands all the way up to his neck. He approached us and bowed to me. “Miss Stackhouse, I understand that I have the honor of your first tattoo. I’m John Medland.”

“Hi John, please call me Sookie, this is my fiancé Eric Northman.” Eric put his hand out and John shook it.

“Oh, I thought you were Herveaux’s woman.”

Eric smiled and nodded. “We are nestmates.” John was shocked to put it mildly, that a Were or a Vamp could share a woman with each other and Eric, as ever, was having fun playing mind games by giving a partial answer.  “Alcide and I searched the internet and this is what we liked.”

He handed the print outs to John and he looked at both of us carefully. “You’re getting a ‘tramp stamp’?”

Eric grumbled at hearing the term again but before he had the chance to argue the terminology I jumped in. “Yeah, with him being King and all and Alcide and I uh, ‘moving up’ I need to be able to hide it under formal wear and cocktail dresses.” I turned around and pulled my denim shirt off. “I want it to fit under the dimples and show in these jeans. My guys seem to like that idea.”

John cleared his throat and when I turned around he had lost a little color but Eric ignored it and started talking about the different things about each sample that we liked. John had me turn around and he drew the design on my back by hand. Eric took a picture of it with his phone and showed it to me and I loved it so we went into the back and I pulled my pants down a few inches and John started setting up the ink and explained as he worked.

“Since this is so low and right on your spine and pelvis it’ll probably hurt like hell, just so you know.” Eric and I got a kick out of that. Eric was given a chair and sat by my head and held my hand when the John started the first line. “How was that?”

I giggled. “It tickled.” Eric smiled down at me and I heard John blow out a long breath.

“Ok , midge, here we go.” He started the tattoo and Eric’s focus shifted from my eyes to the work being done. After a few minutes I heard John talking to Eric about how he heard we had been at the cookout and why he missed it and then I remember Eric waking me up.

John looked at me as I sat up, rubbing my eyes. “You really did fall asleep! I can’t believe as hard as you are you could sleep through a tattoo.”

I shrugged and pulled my arms up and yawned. Eric was smiling at me. “Did you look? Is it good?”

“Lover, it’s better than good. You might not make it to the car before I take you.” I shook my head at my exaggerating vampire.

“Has Alcide called? How did Manen do?”

He beamed. “She took down a buck without a blink of hesitation. The others have left for their fun and Alcide and Jason are taking care of the meat. She wants it for dinner tomorrow night. She’s waiting up to show us the pictures.”

“Aww. We’d better get going.”

John had listened to our conversation while he cleaned up his station. “Do you want to look at it before I cover it for you?”

I got up and went over to the mirror and looked at it. “Oh John! It’s beautiful. I never would have imagined… How much do we owe you?”

“If you don’t mind, if I could photograph it once it’s healed, there’s no charge. I just want to brag on having done you.”

Eric chimed in, “We can take care of that now.”

“If you heal her, it’ll push the ink out. I’ve seen it. I can wait the week.”

I giggled and awkwardly cupped my hands over it, healing it myself. John was shocked. He advanced quickly and his face was only inches away from my ‘fresh’ tattoo that was now completely healed.

“How did you… What did… I don’t…”

I just flashed a little grin at him. “Are you going to get that camera or what?”

He did just that and I poked my butt out a little when I leaned against the mirror and let him take several close ups and a couple of full length shots so that my face was in them too. I gave him a hug to distract him from Eric leaving money at his station and told him that if I wanted another one, I’d come back to him.

**

When we got back into the car Eric smiled at me and licked his lips again. “It really is stunning. Are you going to make me wait?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“I want to bend you over the hood of the car and take you right now.”

“Well that’s not going to happen. You’ll have to wait… at least until we’re back in the country.” When his eyes met mine I licked my lips and he squealed tires out of the parking lot and we pulled over to the shoulder about half way home. I watched him come over to my side of the car and giggled at how anxious he seemed. I almost toyed with him and locked the door but I decided that he might just pull the door off its hinges. He held out his hand and I took it but when he went to lead me to the front of the car I balked. He gave me a confused look before I pulled my tank tops over my head and dropped them on the car seat. I slowly opened my pants and turned around to shimmy them and my panties down my legs, but before I had the chance to tease him anymore he was in me…

Our only company was a few crickets as we grunted and growled into the night air. He was holding onto my hips and crashing into me as I held myself up against the side of the car.

One hand at a time I reached back and grabbed his wrists… then bent over as far as I could. I could feel myself tightening around him as I got closer and closer…

He’d pushed me over my edge, one time right after another and it was getting to be too much. I could feel it building in Eric too and I opened my eyes, trying to get my wits. Everything was shining, reflecting the glow coming from me.

I tightened my grip as I stood up and the change sent shocks up my spine. Eric let go of my hips to hold me to him and sink his fangs into my shoulder and we both erupted into a chorus of moaning and wailing before we came against each other and collapsed against the side of the car for a moment. When Eric stepped back, I stood up and started to right myself. I watched Eric move to lean against the side of the car.

“Honey, are you ok?”

He looked confused as he turned his face towards me. “Sookie, I’m fine. I think I might me tired.”

I smiled at him. “I’ll drive.” I grabbed my shirts and threw them on while I walked over to the driver’s side.  It was funny to see a tired looking vampire. “Do you feel the pull or…what?”

“It’s difficult to explain, I think I will lay down when we return. I feel tired as I remember the feeling.”

The rest of the ride home I kept my eyes on him and I could have sworn that I saw him falling asleep. It was bizarre.

We went in the front door and directly to Manen to let her show off her kill and were very excited for her and impressed at her Cheetah form.  She was exhausted, but not too much to think how much happier she thought she’d be here because Carol had been too scared to let her shift.

Eric apologized for being so tired and kissed us goodnight. I could see how tired she was too. Hunter was already long asleep so I sat with Manen for a while to let her boast about all of her fun.

Eventually, she let out a huge yawn, so I gave her a kiss goodnight and went to our bedroom where Eric was laying on the bed still dressed. I chuckled a little and helped him out of his clothes and under the covers. I took a quick shower and for the first time in ages I was asleep before midnight. So was my vampire.

5 thoughts on “Clapter 23

  1. Kristie Yamber says:

    Reading again how tired Eric got now is kinda funny, at least now they can be on the same schedule. and the tramp stamp i forgot about that. my best Kristie

  2. RainyDayReader says:

    Loved this chapter but I did have to wonder about a Were doing a tatoo during the full moon?

  3. loveallsvmtb says:

    I loved this chapter. I too had forgotten the Tramp stamp.

  4. kleannhouse says:

    LOL i never noticed before , you list this one as CLAPTER23 not Chapter 23 KY

  5. could eric being awake all day have any impact on sookie + alcide’s ‘affair/teasing’ ??? can’t wait to read more! x

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