Chapter 18: Just What The Doctor Ordered

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Chapter 18

Just What The Doctor Ordered

**

She’d snuggled against me so closely that as I came back to myself, I could have sworn her breaths and heartbeats were my own…

I tightened my arm over Sookie’s waist just in time to hear a page turn.

She cooed happily, “I found your liiii-brarrrrrrry.”

I chuckled and lifted my head to see what she was reading… the better question would have been what she wasn’t reading…

Several books were spread out… Plato, Sophocles, Ovid, Herodotus…

“Did you see anything but the library?”

“I saw the dining room long enough to eat my weight in sausage and eggs… and I saw the kitchen long enough to gang up on Saskia.”

“Did she do something wrong?”

“Oh no. She’s a sweetheart and I’m sure she’s supposed to dote over guests… Brandon, Rosalie and I helped her clean up after breakfast while Charlie and Ema took the kids to feed the geese in your moat. You have a moat. A moat. Anyway… Brandon and I were thinking…”

“Uh oh. Should I brace myself for Brandon’s opinion?”

“We actually agree about something, so I don’t think so… She thinks we don’t think she’s doing a good job even though we tried to assure her we aren’t used to being waited on hand and foot, so… Brandon and I want to leave breakfasts to her. We’ll leave lunch as a DIY thing and we’ll take care of dinner ourselves. We’ll give her a list of groceries until we’re used to where we can find markets and whatnot. We don’t think she should pick up after the children because they need to be responsible for themselves and we’ll do our own laundry, but she can still tend to dry cleaning. And until Rosalie gets blood therapy, she needs a routine or she gets out of sorts… On top of everything else, we don’t want poor Saskia to burn out. I mean, she’s had an essentially empty house to tend to for a while and she’s suddenly the only housekeeper for seven people constantly.”

“How very decisive of you.” Not a stutter. Not a hint of hesitation. Clearly and perfectly resolute. It was spectacular.

She put the book down to roll to her back. She was blushing. “It kind of is… isn’t it?

I shook my head. “No. There’s no ‘kind of’ attached to that Sookie. I don’t care how much of your brother’s input is involved. You’ve all but put your foot down… I’ll let Saskia know, as Lady of the House, she’ll be answering to you…”

“Oh… don’t do that… I don’t want her to feel like I went behind her back… I just thought you could tell her that your guests are pretty self-sufficient.”

“As Lady of the House, we can explain that OUR guests are self-sufficient. We’ll let her know about the changes together.” Being in control of something ‘bigger’ than her clothing would probably be good for her.

“She’s a sweet girl. I don’t want to make her think she’s doing a bad job though.”

“When we explain that you and your brother enjoy cooking and the children need to learn some responsibility so they don’t become too spoiled, she’ll understand why her routine is changing. If nothing else, she’ll enjoy helping you in the kitchen to learn new American recipes, yes?”

She cringed. “I hope so… Dinh’s great too, by the way. He’s super friendly and excited to have something to do. He…” She giggled and shook her head. “He already had a list of things we might want to do. Like the movies. His notes included show times. And he has menus for every restaurant in town. Actual menus, not the paper leaflets that get shoved into take-out bags… They both feel like they don’t do enough for what you pay them… it’s really sweet that you forced their parents into retirement and hired the ‘kids’ to replace them.”

“There wasn’t anything sweet about it. They were raised here. They were accustomed to what I expected of their parents…”

“But not many people get a house as a retirement gift. Hell, not many people get a cheap watch anymore.”

“They were caretakers here for 40 years. They more than earned it.”

“Am I supposed to keep my yap shut about how sweet you are? Is that it?”

“Yes.” Whatever made her think I was sweet could be easily contradicted…

She giggled and bit her lip. “Fine. You got it.”

“Did you do anything other than restructure the housekeeper’s routine and visit the library?”

“Well… I unpacked for us, we got a tour, the kids found your secret stash of puppies in the barn which might be nicer than my old house… Miles scared the crap out of everyone when he swung out of a tree on our way to the river… He’d shifted to a lemur. It suited him, but I think someone should block his Animal Planet access. The next time we saw him, he was a pig… because he felt badly for spooking me and I liked sausage at breakfast… Why wasn’t he too tired? I thought Shifters got worn out after a shift. Sam did.”

“Miles will tell you that it’s because he eats his spinach, but he began shifting to amuse a younger sibling while his mother read Green Eggs And Ham. He can shift from a mouse to a fox to a goat with the cadence of the prose. It’s impressive… and his strength and stamina are the only reasons to put up with the clown as a guard.”

She giggled, “You’ve seen it?

I nodded. “It’s how he applied for the job. He walked into my office, handed the book to me, and told me to read it aloud.”

She laughed, “Nice audition.”

“I thought so. He was certainly the star of the group Gerrit brought to me. Don’t let him know that though. Anja is far more levelheaded, which is why she’s second in command here in spite of the strength difference… Not that she’s weak. I’ve seen her best Gerrit and Miles sparring in Human form.”

“Good call… What’s with the dogs? I got from Dinh’s mind that you brought them from Kiel when you took over, but… you don’t strike me as a dog person.”

“Klaasje asked to become a Maker when she was nearly 200 years old. Halfdan didn’t approve of her choice of children and told her if she wanted to suffer the company of dogs, she should establish a Danish breed instead. ‘Something strong and blue’. She’s been breeding them ever since. Technically, the breed belongs to the Northern Empire, but they’re her accomplishment. There are several color variations, but the blue and the blue merle colors are the breeding stock for a ‘Royal Dane’. Klaasje is very selective.”

She laughed, almost hysterically, shaking her head and hissing apologies until she was calm enough to explain, “Okay, A- it’s so cool that I know the inventor of the Great Dane… B- that’s a perfect adaption for the former midwife, but… C- do you realize Scooby Doo is a Great Dane?”

I chuckled, “I do, but his coloring is a ‘defect’. I don’t suggest you make that comparison around Klaasje. She’s written countless letters to Hanna-Barbera on the matter.”

“I guess I should think of a new nickname for my snacks.”

“Maybe… speaking of which, how did you do today? New surroundings and strangers…”

She grinned, feeling as proud as she had the night before. “I ate one brownie, but that was to taste Saskia’s recipe, not because I needed it… I don’t know why, but I just feel safe here. I did get a little anxious walking out to the barn, but because I knew it was the bond, I just kind of pushed it back. I knew it was there, but it wasn’t scary.”

“That’s progress…”

She nodded. “I think so too… and I feel safe with you anyway, but being here, out of the fray…”

When she trailed off, I offered, “The quiet countryside could be just what the doctor ordered, yes?”

She nodded again. “I can’t imagine why a mental health professional wouldn’t tell me that I should do what I need to do to feel safe and medicate my anxiety when needed, right? For a normal girl, that would mean buying a gun, installing an alarm, and keeping Xanex in her pocket… But for Sookie Stackhouse, that means finding you, casting spells, and pot.”

I nodded, worried there would be more… still waters run deep… but I would have been a fool to be pessimistic when she was enjoying a reprieve. All I could really do was hope I was wrong.

“And other than adjusting to having servants, how are our guests enjoying it here?”

“They love it. The kids had to be dragged from everywhere the tour took us. Brandon doesn’t want to admit it out loud, but the way you had the second floor set up to put as much space between the three telepaths impressed him…” She concentrated on my shoulder for a moment before offering, “Hunter is dreaming about horseback riding. Julie is dreaming about soccer… And Brandon’s emailing his friends to let them know they’re safe and sound. Charlie and Rosalie are out of my range, but Rosalie went to the market with Saskia because she wanted to learn how to get around. Ema seems happy too, I just can’t get specifics. When I came downstairs, she was in your office scanning her drawings and organizing them.”

“Everyone is settling in nicely then. Good. And the books? Are you trying to discover the source of Ema’s ability?”

She giggled, “I was going to… but I was completely sidetracked and got lost in the story. It’s been months since I read and I used to have a book-a-day habit.”

“Should I tell you the other Eric told me that they’ve exhausted every text they can think of? The only lead they have is contacting Pythoness and if that doesn’t produce results, they’re completely prepared to designate Ema as a new species.”

“It’s just what was on my mind… I slept too much on the plane to want to nap before dinner. Tonight I’m teaching Brandon and the kids Gran’s recipe for pork chops and baked apples. Anyway, if the other version of Us was drawing blanks then I don’t have any preconceived notions I’ll figure out what Ema is. I’m just gonna make guesses.”

“It’s an excellent excuse to read though…” I reached for one of the books to take it from the bed. “We’ll call it research and stay in bed for a few nights.”

She watched me push myself up to lean against the headboard as though she was waiting for me to say I was only joking.

Once I opened the book, she finally asked, “You’re serious?”

I nodded. “The house is quiet. The Kingdom is as dull as ever. I’ll need to check in with Dinh’s progress and cancel his errand of finding a chef, but I can’t think of a better excuse to be lazy for a while.”

She raised an eyebrow and scooted closer, I thought she was going to snuggle closer and resume her reading, but she reached for my book…

She giggled, “Give me that.”

“No. I’m the King. If I want to be lazy, I can order all of the Vampires in the Kingdom to stay in bed as well…”

She laughed and reached for the book again. “Fine. Be lazy then, but I had that one first.”

I held the book away from her. “But this is my favorite of the ones you brought with you and I can’t go up to the library…”

She giggled as she put her knees on my legs to reach the book. “Tough noogies. You liked the others enough to buy them. I was already on the second play. I have dibs.”

You liked the others enough to bring them downstairs. I think we’re even…”

She nearly tumbled over the side of the bed and caught my arm to save herself. She grunted, “You’ve read it more than me…”

I chuckled, “I like it more.”

I was waiting for her next move. The book was just out of her reach when she stopped grappling for it. She sat back, resting on her knees, still across my legs and gave me the most pitifully needy look I’d ever seen.

Big pleading eyes, pouty lips, and a soft voice… “Can I please have that one if I run upstairs to get whatever you want?”

Fuck me. That face. I was already willing to lose the ‘battle’ for the book as soon as she could reach it, but there was no way I could have said no.

“Why not just reenact the rest of Oliver Twist for me?”

She didn’t say anything… she also didn’t stop giving me that look either. When I offered the book to her, she took it like a sad little urchin too, only letting her lips curl up slightly.

She was still for another moment before she leaned over to kiss me, laying over my chest as she placed a grateful little peck on my lips and breathed, “Thank you. What do you want from the library?”

“Something by Dumas. I read Georges over the shoulder of the other Sookie during our flight…”

Sookie bit her lip and crinkled up the rest of her face. “Nevermind. You can have Sophocles…” She left the book in her place as she shot from the bed to run for the door teasing, “I’ll get Monte Cristo for me!”

That little brat.

I left the bed to pass Sookie and blockade the door… I had to catch her to keep her from falling to the floor when she slammed against my chest.

I was worried that I hurt her until she began cackling.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

She was still laughing when she stepped back and held her fists up. “I’ll fight’cha for it.”

I laughed, “Oh really?”

She nodded, playfully serious. “Yeah. C’mon. Put ‘em up. Let’s go.” Seeing her behave so playfully, so full of spirit… It was nothing if not inspiring.

“What exactly am I putting up?”

She drawled, “Yer dukes.”

“That sad face you made won Sophocles. Why not try that again?”

She narrowed her eyes as she thought about it, eventually dropping her fists and padding towards me with that look on her face again.

My fault.

She rested her chin on my chest, this time trying to keep from smiling as she whispered, “Is it working?” Yes.

“No. I have it in English and French. Grab both.”

She squeaked and leapt up to wrap her arms around my neck to kiss my cheeks. “I’ll be right back!”

**

I listened as her little feet quickly hammered over the stone floor of the house until she and Ema startled each other in my office. They laughed while Sookie searched for the books and Sookie ran back to our room just as quickly as she left.

She opened the door, fumbling to keep her armful of books from falling, and left five books on the side table before sliding onto the bed to breathlessly present the French copy of Monte Cristo to me.

“What are the others?”

“The D’Artagnan romances, Corsican Brothers and Two Dianas. If we’re being lazy for a while, we might as well be prepared.” Beautiful.

“I like the way you think.”

She giggled as she snuggled against my side once I leaned back against the headboard and happily began reading with her book resting against my ribs.

Even though I was reading in half the time as Sookie, I was sporadically distracted by how impossibly comfortable it was to have her next to me, enjoying the only pastime I had for centuries.

After a while, Sookie left the bed to use the restroom and returned to the bed with a grin on her face.

“What is that smile for?”

She sighed as she settled back into her place, “Oh nothing… It’s just that I would be perfectly happy to start off every night like this… on planet Bibliophile.”

“I was just thinking the same thing. I suppose it’s a good thing I make my own schedule.”

She stretched up to kiss me and joked, “King Eric issues royal edict for shhhhhhh across the Empire. Contact your Lord to be notified of ‘quiet time’ in your district. News at eleven.”

“I should probably disguise the edict to promote literacy.”

She cooed, “That’s smart… it might raise a few eyebrows if someone found out the Vampire King likes to cuddle up with a book.”

“It’s not the book I’m enjoying cuddling with.”

She raised her eyebrow and argued, “If I’m not allowed to mention how sweet you are, you can’t keep saying sweet stuff like that. Not fair.”

“I don’t have to be fair.”

She snickered, “Fine. You’re sweet. Deal with it.”

I rolled towards her, fighting off the smile her cheekiness was inspiring. “You’re very lively tonight.”

She giggled, “You know… I haven’t had a lot of coffee in a while either, but every time I passed the coffee maker there was a fresh pot waiting. I might be a little hyper.”

“I’m not complaining. I’m enjoying it.” It was infectious.

She put her hand to my head and ran her thumb over my eyebrow. “I can tell… Are you going to shut up anytime soon? You’re squandering your quiet time.” As soon as she was finished speaking, she bit her lip, nervously questioning her joke.

“I don’t think I’m squandering anything. I’ve become quite fond of rising with you in bed with me. My nightly update was certainly more interesting the way you delivered it.”

She laughed, “Okay, I know you get your updates from Klaasje and emails, but… I sooo pictured you snuggled up with Dinh just now.”

“Were we spooning?

She snorted when she laughed, “Yeah.”

“He’s too tall. I doubt we’d fit as well as you and I do… I can call him though…”

When I jokingly leaned away to reach for my phone, she lunged for my arm and landed on my chest with both of her tiny hands clutching my wrist. “Don’t you dare! The mental image is enough!”

“It could be fun to see the look on his face when I tell him I want to cuddle…”

She shook her head. “That’s it. No more coffee for you. You can’t handle your caffeine… Lemme up.”

I didn’t realize my free arm was strapped over her back until she said something.

“I don’t think I will. You’re warm… if you’ll just stop squirming I could be quite comfortable.”

She giggled, continuing to squirm, moving enough to lay her body along mine instead of across it…

Letting the occasional grunt as she adjusted…

Until she was stretched out, resting her chin on her hands in the middle of my chest.

When she was finally settled, she raised an eyebrow and teased, “Now what? Neither one of us are going to be able to read like this.”

I lifted my book and opened it again, paying no attention to the page, and holding it over Sookie’s head. “Speak for yourself.”

She gasped and swatted my chest, pulling her knees up to straddle me and do her best to block my view of the book… Her playful mood had been a pleasant distraction, but straddling me and squirming shifted my mood.

And she seemed to notice as quickly as I did.

Her eyes were locked on mine and she was gnawing her bottom lip when we were ‘saved’…

**

The end of ‘quiet time’ came in the form of Klaasje’s signature arrival… a rapid tapping on the door to my room to announce herself, followed by her immediate entrance.

I growled as Sookie rolled away blushing, but to be fair, there hadn’t ever been anything for Klaasje to interrupt since I didn’t feed or fuck at home. The most interesting thing she’d ever interrupted had been my shower. She usually sat on the settee with her laptop while we compared emails to make use of our time before the sun fully set.

The mortified look on Klaasje’s face only reminded me that I’d all but set myself up for the disruption by telling her I’d read her report when I rose.

She froze two steps into the room and gasped, “I beg your pardon, Majesty. I didn’t realize you’d have company…”

“Sookie isn’t company, Klaasje. She’s my companion. Perhaps from now on, you’ll pause between knocking and opening the door.”

She began backing through the doorway with her head down. “Yes. Of course. My apologies.” Sookie cleared her throat gently, more concerned for Klaasje than bothered by our interruption.

The door was almost closed when I asked, “Klaasje, were you delivering the report?”

“Yes Majesty.”

“I told you not to concern yourself with formalities. Come in. Sookie’s just as curious about your new initiative as I am.”

Klaasje carefully reentered the room and approached the bed warily. “She is?”

I nodded with my hand out to take her report. “She might have something to offer from a Human perspective.”

Klaasje’s eyebrows rose curiously as she placed the binder in my hand. “Might she?”

Sookie nodded. “I knew a kid in grade school who found his older brother after he killed himself. He probably still thinks about it. He was messed up for a long time. Missed a whole year of school.”

Klaasje, sympathetic soul that she was, frowned. “It probably would have helped him. The children I mentioned last night watched their house burn down around their mother and heard her screaming while the fire brigade searched for her. The oldest had a crippling anxiety attack while watching a televised birthday party. The candles alone…. so sad.”

“That’s just heartbreaking.” As much as she’d been through…

Instead of souring my mood by dwelling on Sookie’s suffering, I began scanning the technical report while Sookie and Klaasje occupied each other.

Klaasje offered, “I glamoured them to forget the event. Not the tragedy, but witnessing it. What they ‘remember’ now is waking in hospital beds and being told their mother didn’t survive the fire. During the session, their doctor lit a candle on his desk and none of them flinched…”

Sookie nodded sympathetically and offered, “My parents died in a flash flood when I was eight. Grieving was bad enough, but I can’t imagine the scars I’d have if I was helplessly watching it… It’s so awesome that you’re doing this.”

“The one hurdle we seem to have is research. I don’t want to turn the glamouring over to anyone until we know the best way to go about it. The doctor I was interviewing only had four patients he felt glamour therapy could help. If I contact every mental health professional in the Empire, I’ll be lucky to have the same results. It’s going to be difficult to form a case study conveniently.”

Sookie hummed thoughtfully for a moment before asking, “What kind of thing did the doctors think glamour would be best suited for?”

“Obsessive compulsive disorders and Post Traumatic Stress.”

“Where is Ramstein?”

“It’s only a couple of hours away, but it’s in the Kingdom of Rhineland. Why?”

“Well, I don’t know where anything is yet… I was hoping it was in the Northern Empire because Ramstein might be a good place to start on the PTSD thing.”

“Why Ramstein? It’s a US base.”

“But it has local personnel too. I was just thinking it would be a jackpot for your research to have such a concentration of soldiers. God knows they see plenty they wish they could forget… I’ve heard it’s mostly a hub right now for wounded soldiers. They’re stabilized and then sent home to Walter Reed and Bethesda or wherever, but I’m sure they offer psych services there.  I have a friend back home who fought in Vietnam. Poor Terry’s still not right. If y’all can fix damaged Vets and children, I doubt you’ll have to struggle for Humans to accept glamour therapy… Oh, and you could call some psychiatrists in New York and stay there for a few nights. I just saw a special on TV saying there are a lot of folks who are still agoraphobic after 9-11.”

Klaasje gave me a surprised look.

“I told you she could have something to offer. Call Nicholas to make arrangements… The added fun would come from knowing once the American soldiers transfer back to the States, the Human government will be less than amused that the Americanized Vampires are holding out.”

Klaasje nodded enthusiastically. “Absolutely… Sookie, do you have any ideas about children?”

Ummm…” Sookie nudged my arm. “Eric, where in your Kingdom can Klaasje find a specialist in pediatric trauma?” Charlie. Fucking brilliant.

“Do you think he’d be willing to help?”

“Since you’ve already arranged for a nurse to come out to the castle to take Rosalie’s blood for testing, he’s willing to wash your feet.”

“I don’t want him to assume I’m expecting to be repaid. Do you mind asking him?”

She giggled and shook her head. “Not a bit… I’ll do everything I can to help…” Sookie tilted her head to make sure I was paying attention to her as she stressed, “Anything.” I immediately began preparing myself for the excursion so Sookie could use her ability to help sway the General to consent to the study.

I chuckled, “Klaasje, Sookie’s offering to use her ability to further your research if you find a need for it. She’s telepathic.” I was going to leave it up to Sookie whether to make her awareness of Vampires’ moods known.

The look on Klaasje’s face was priceless. I might as well have slapped her. “She’s… telepathic… a…”

“She practically renders our hearing useless considering her range. She can hear the thoughts of others with the exception of Vampires and Daemons…”

Sookie added, “And whatever Ema is. I can’t hear her thoughts.”

Klaasje shook her head slowly and stammered, “Te- te- telepathic?”

She nodded again and began scooting towards the edge of the bed.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“Hunter’s stirring and the little man is full of questions. It seems like my quiet time is over. I have dinner to make anyway.”

“Are you feeling up to that already? You should probably take a while to rest.”

She sighed as she went to the closet, “I will if you really think I need to, but I’m excited to get back into the kitchen. I’ll have plenty of help and you know how Brandon is.” A perfectly civilized ‘argument’.

“Sookie, tell me to shut the fuck up and stop worrying because you feel fabulous.”

She turned enough to grin over her shoulder. “What’s the point in that? You know I don’t mean it.”

“Because I want you to.”

She sighed and walked towards the bathroom with a handful of clothing. “If it’s that important to you, fine. Shut the fuck up and stop worrying because you feel fabulous.”

I had to resist laughing and she knew it. Even Klaasje thought it was worth a snort in spite of how confused she was by the conversation.

She winked at me as she closed the bathroom door and offered, “Pam.”

Klaasje had just enough time to give me another puzzled look before Pam knocked on the door my room.

**

As Pam stepped into the room, she asked, “Am I interrupting?”

I shook my head. “No. Klaasje brought her proposal for glamour therapy and Sookie is changing before she prepares dinner.”

Pam gasped, “Did your maid do something…!?

“No. Sookie’s looking forward to cooking again.”

“Ah…” She flopped onto Sookie’s side of the bed like a teen cliché. “Didn’t occur to me… Klaasje know about all that yet?”

I shook my head. “She only just arrived. I don’t want to ruin Sookie’s good mood.”

“Another high-spirited night?”

“The only pot she’s had today was from tasting a brownie. She hasn’t cast a spell either… Ich warte darauf, dass der Groschen fällt – bis dahin genieße ich es.

Pam and Klaasje nodded, even if Pam understood much more than Klaasje.

When Sookie left the bathroom in a T-shirt, jeans and Hasbeens, she smiled at Pam and went to the closet for a sweater.

“Ummmm… Klaasje, the kids found the puppies when we got a tour of the property. They want to help. Is there anything you can think of they can do that wouldn’t get in your way?”

Klaasje was genuinely surprised Sookie asked her. “You should ask Eric since they’re his…”

Sookie nodded. “I did. He said they’re your thing. I can tell the kids that the pups are like the royal rose garden and they need special care if you prefer they just keep a distance, but I thought I’d make the offer since the kids are enthusiastic.”

She shrugged, “Well, if it isn’t an imposition to you… it’s good for them to be handled. I give them treats, but not scraps. Because of their size, they need something hearty. I take them boiled eggs…” And what those eggs did to their digestive tracts was why the dogs were only allowed inside the house occasionally.

“I’m sure the kids will jump right on that for you.”

“Thank you… If they’re interested, I’ll take them out to the barn after they’ve eaten dinner.”

Sookie nodded. “They’ll be chomping at the bit if I warn them ahead of time. I’ll let you spring it on them… Hey Pam, I unpacked your luggage for you, but your boxes are just around the corner in the hallway. I didn’t want to rifle through your private things.”

Pam beamed at Sookie. “How thoughtful, thank you… but the boxes aren’t mine. They’re yours…”

“How much did you have Willis buy for me!?”

Pam laughed, “You have everything Willis purchased for you… I sent a minion to Bon Temps to have them call off the search for you. The detective there was so excited to hear you were safe, he handed over a few boxes and is shipping the rest to you here.”

Sookie slapped her hands over her mouth, crying instantly. “How!? The fire!

“According to the minion, there was a woman who had most of your family albums because of a collage she made for Jason’s services…”

Sookie gasped, “Maxine,” behind her hands.

Pam nodded. “That’s the one… After the fire, she led a party through the rubble to salvage whatever they could. They packed up all of Jason’s things for you, assuming you’d live there when you returned. The detective gave the name of a lawyer you need to contact about the properties… It would only take a phone call to turn the trouble over to Hadley and make her deal with it.”

Other than shaking her head once, Sookie froze. Feeling and doing nothing for a moment before turning for the door.

“Sookie, where are you going?” I didn’t like that she was leaving before she could give me anything to go on. I left the bed to block her path again.

She finally took her hands away from her mouth to smile up at me. “I thought it was all gone. I thought the banks had taken the land… I wasn’t thinking anything could have survived that fire.”

“You’re numb. Are you alright?”

She nodded. “Better than alright. When Maxine sent Hoyt to get the albums because she wanted to do a collage, I wanted to kick her ass. She was nagging and harping and I didn’t want to deal with it… I owe her a hug now… If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have pictures of Aunt Linda to show Hunter… and there’s pictures of when Daddy was building our house with his bare hands to show Julie and Brandon… and… I’ve got boxes full of things to remind me what I used to be like.”

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36 thoughts on “Chapter 18: Just What The Doctor Ordered

  1. Great chapter. Sookie’s progress is so good. I tell you what though…when they get to the “good stuff” after all the build up…it will be a doozy of an event. Can’t wait to get to that bit *wiggles eyebrows* 😉

  2. Such a fabulous chapter: I’m practically giddy! I just want to keep on reading, but I guess I’ll have to wait.

    It was great to see them so playful and happy and I’m so glad that Sookie has some photos and things from home afterall. I simply cannot wait for the next chapter! Great work, agian!

  3. Brilliant!! Wonderful!! Amazing!! Ok, my brain just tapped out on descriptives. I’d have to use a thesaurus and I’d feel like I was cheating to use one for a review, but if you need me to, let me know and I will because you are worth every word that would come up! My headache just won’t let my brain come up with them on its own. Thanks for this bodacious (you can thank Jack Black and Kung Fu Panda for that one) chapter!!

  4. Oh! How lucky for Sookie that it’s turning out that she has far more left of her former life than she realises. Also – the great Dane thing? That’s kind of awesome 🙂 Great chapter hon!

  5. Another great chapter of Sookie’s progress. I adore her playfulness with Eric, it’s wonderful to read. Love how they’re settling in in his kingdom. Looking forward to more 🙂

  6. What a great chapter. We see little elements of the core personality for Sookie. Her thoughtfulness, her ability to think outside the box, her independant nature. Eric is smart enough to realize that “the other penny is going to drop” In recovering from trauma it can be any little thing that brings on an anxiety attack. It will make it fresh. Sookie is going to have to work through all of thoses emotions she did not allow herself to feel while she was in captivity. At the time it was more important for her to survive. I really understant that all too well. I can say the only cure is time. Over time the anxiety will happen less often and have a shorter duration. I am hopeful that Sookie’s core personality will return. There will be many changes of course. She will be less trusting and more cautious, but really she should be. Looking forward to more in this beautiful story.

  7. I can’t thank you enough for posting. This chapter was fabulous. Seeing more tenacity in Sookie, is refreshing. Eric being kind and patient is nice to see. All the new characters are just fabulous! You never fail to impress. Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. Wow. I’m so glad to see this. I was worried about you, hoping you and your family were okay. Anyway, this was delightful as always. Sookie has come so far in a short time. Eric is right though, at some point the past will crash down on her. I love the Klaasje is the ‘mother’ of the Great Danes. They are beautiful dogs.

  9. Such a nice blend of “normal” (she and Eric joking and talking) and then a chance for her natural creative thinking to be used with suggestions about how to use “glamour” therapy to help others. And finally, she is reminded what a blessing a persistent neighbor can be..For all her faults, Maxine is the one who has saved pieces of Sookie’s history for her. And I’m sure Sookie will have move emotional hills to climb, but she seems to be making a lot of progress to the person she was before the horrors were inflicted on her.

  10. Oh I love this chapter! Sookie is doing so well, but I agree with Eric, waiting for the other shoe to drop. This definitly helped to sooth the twitching. lol

  11. Love to see Sookie progress so much. Can’t wait for more. What is with the cock blocking though? have they really not had sex yet? I have to go back and reread EP now.

  12. Wonderful chapter, I loved Sookie’s decisiveness and Eric’s playfulness. The slow build is creating such a strong foundation for their relationship, it’s perfect! You Rock!!

  13. Awww! Fantastic chapter! Love that Sookie is feeling more secure and comfortable. And yay for the good news that she has stuff from home after all!

  14. Wonderful chapter. Sookie is being great getting the kids organized and doing things to ground them in the world, and to prepare them to enter the world not as spoiled brats but productive workers in society.

    What a wonderful thing Pam did for them all. I know Sookie is going to be so grateful. Loved this playful Eric.

  15. i so hope when they do get closer that Eric takes his time with Sookie and shows her what love is and just sex he is so good for her i can’t wait i love this Eric so much

  16. Love it! I like how comfortable Sookie is becoming and how patient Eric is with her. I can’t wait for your next update 🙂

  17. Wonderful chapter –to see a ‘transitioning’ Sookie –to her old personality –the ones that all the Eric’s have been drawn to. Hope the quietness of Eric’s kingdom doesn’t lull her into a false sense of ease. The true marker of her change to taking control of her “old self” would be to see what happens under pressure —

    and yes, finally Maxine F. is good for something other than bending folks’ ears…
    Pat

  18. loved it, worth waiting for Love this Sookie, she is growing by leaps and bounds It was awesome of Maxine to have done what she did with the photos and such. I am sure Eric will make sure the properties are taken care of now, that way they remain in the Stackhouse family forever. Pam was too funny when she bounced in the room and onto the bed. But Klaasje, i am still unsure about her yet, still dont trust her but i think Sookie and the children will win her over. Still hoping Eric sends for Alcide. my best Kristie .

  19. I have been going through and reading every story available on here. I love them all!!!! I am so sucked in. I had already read bored to death and In the Dark a couple of the other bigger stories on here.

  20. Nice light, easy going chapter. So WHEN are these two going to get down to the important stuff–wild sex and so on and so on? Sookie seems pretty stable. They’re obviously getting close. Next chapter??

    Also would love an update on Alpha where the focus is on S&N and not the other family members.
    Thanks for all that you do, Angela!

  21. I love Sookie’s progress. She’s bouncing back right fabulously! I too can not wait for them to get to the “good stuff”! Lol her ideas are right on point as always. more please.

  22. I loved this chapter, fun quiet time, and time for teasing and laughing. They both seem so much more relaxed. Too bad they were interupted, but soon I hope they have time for a closer bonding.

  23. Oh for once, thank goodness for Maxine’s busybody-ness! By insisting on doing the photo collage, she preserved a portion of Sookie’s life she thought was gone forever. I’m so glad she will be able to share it with Hunter and Brandon.

    Love the “family-ness” of this chapter and the introductions to staff and castle life. Poor Saskia! Let’s hope she can get used to the Southern hospitality and everyone helping out around the place.

    Also love the bit about the origin of the Great Danes 🙂 Kids and puppies…can’t go wrong, LOL! Eagerly looking forward to lemony goodness soon 🙂

    Oh, and if only there was such thing as blood therapy and glamour therapy. It sounds like a lot of disorders could be taken care of…I can’t wait to see where that story goes.

  24. Just beautiful, I am loving Sookie coming back to herself. Stroke of genius about Maxine Fortenberry. And I need to move there, Eric and Great Danes!!! Yum.

  25. This story just keep getting better. Great to see Sookie making progress towards her real self. Loved the play time between S/E. I think Eric’s right to form a friendship with Sookie and wait for the rest.

  26. Great chapter. I can see the old Sookie peeking out. It’s very interesting to have the story set in Eric’s European kingdom instead of little Bon temps.

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