For the first few moments as I came back to myself, I assumed Sookie and Asa had left the house to run errands…
But the sounds of breathing finally reached me… It was almost as though they were sleeping, so I had to wonder if they’d accidentally slept all day, or if something happened to keep them awake after I died.
It wasn’t much later that Gawain killed the peace and quiet by asking, “Isn’t anyone going to ask what they did for the day?”
Atum grumbled, “Ommak fasya.” Translated, he’d basically called Gawain a pussy-fart.
Sookie giggled, “Braine lor to fron… Literally, it’s ‘cum on your forehead’ in Creole. It basically means ‘you can suck my dick, but you aren’t good enough to swallow’.”
Atum chuckled and repeated, “Braine lor to fron… Like it…”
Sookie asked Atum, “What did yours mean? Ommak fasya?”
I had my mouth open to translate for him when he finally offered, “Your mother fart.”
Sookie asked, “So… like… your mother farted on the day you were born, making Gawain a queef, or like your mom’s nasty, like son of a bitch?”
Atum answered, “Queef.”
Sookie giggled evilly, “Love it.”
Tyson snorted, “We’re only missing Pam. Someone should take notes for her… What did you do today, love? Did you stay in?”
“After we went for a run, we went to the florist. They’re a bit of a problem in that the coven members don’t work there like the other places. They just meet there after hours. The place was warded against ill-will, and we were spying, so we bought flowers and left before it was obvious we were up to something.”
“If you know when they’re meeting…”
Sookie finished, “I can listen from the sidewalk or car-park without the ward making me queasy.”
“Good. I’ll station a man outside.”
“Thank you… The spa was something else entirely.”
She cooed, “Phenomenal massages.”
He chuckled, “Learn anythin’?”
“It’s owned by a woman named Mary Sullivan. Her kids work there too. Two boys and three girls, all named after saints and powerful as hell. I want to conduct an experiment just to settle my curiosity.”
“What sort of experiment?”
“I think the oils they use for massages are magical. They make their own salts, candles, oils, everything. They’re relaxing London one herbal wrap at a time. I need to smoke a bowl before I’m as relaxed as most of the people there. Very mellow thoughts.”
I was too curious to refuse. After Tyson volunteered to participate, I offered, “I’m in too… Erica, is that Zee’s plan, or is she a hairdresser who just so happens to practice magic?”
“She’s a natural Witch, trained as a masseuse, planning to enhance her massages and aromatherapy like the Sullivans are already doing. I’ve seen Shawn look like he could fall asleep, but… well, he’s still so Human in so many ways…”
“You want a real Vampire as a lab rat? I might tell him you said that.”
She sighed, “He won’t be offended after what his Maker put him through. Trust me…” I heard her light footsteps just before she came to the door to my room. She leaned against the threshold with a flask while she waited for me to move the gris-gris bags. “Anyway, I asked Ignatius while he set up our massages about a few things. They use the family’s gift for herbology to make what people pay for at other spas actually work. Their minds are as purely benevolent as I’ve ever seen… Which is bad news if you want a Witch to charm someone to suicide, but it’s excellent when you just want a way to skirt the scent of chlorine.”
Tyson asked, “Really now?”
She pointed to my bed and offered, “Position might have something to do with it. All of the massage tables were east to west. Head east.” As I stretched across the mattress, she answered Tyson, “Yes sir, I mentioned that Wallace has a stasis done on his pool…”
She climbed onto the bed, situating on her knees against my thigh as she started, “He’d be willing to perform the stasis if you really want… but he offered a sample of a potion that’ll kill that chlorine smell. It should last a week. If you like it, he’ll gladly fill your order on a regular basis… Not that money is a factor for you, but he was pushing the cheaper alternative. A stasis costs more because it’s physically demanding for them. Also, he’s more than willing to ward properties for safety purposes. He already has several clients, including a particular tourist attraction with amusingly stoic guards.”
“Beautiful… If the water doesn’t smell like chlorine, what’ll it smell like then?”
Tyson was suddenly leaning in the doorway to my room in a pair of jeans, watching Sookie warm oil that smelled of neroli and ylang ylang between her hands.
It couldn’t smell nearly as pleasant as neroli and ylang ylang.
It had been a while since I’d humored a massage, and even then it was just a stylish activity like it had been to suffer smoky drawing rooms with men who sweat the most pretentious whisky they could find… But as soon as Sookie began rubbing the oil into my shoulders, I decided that being her lab rat wasn’t such an imposition. It occurred to me that she might just have practice, that Asa might benefit from occasional back rubs, but that’s as far into my disassembling of the ‘magic massage’ as I went before my eyes closed. I tried to remind myself that Vampires didn’t need massages, but I wasn’t listening.
While Sookie kneaded my back, she offered, “This time, honeysuckle… He can make it smell like other stuff, but the only thing I know you like is honeysuckle because you mentioned it while we were dancing at the party. It’s much milder than the chlorine scent, even to Asa. It’s just so the water doesn’t end up smelling like the bad perfumes you’re trying to get rid of.”
“Did you already add the potion to the pool?”
She snorted, “I’m not doing a damn thing to your house without your say-so.”
“Smart girl… Eric, how’s the rubdown?”
I groaned, “It would be better if you shut the fuck up.”
Sookie stopped rubbing the oil into my back to laugh. “It’s sooooo working.”
The weight shifted on the bed at my legs and Tyson asked, “What’s in it? Is that ylang ylang I smell?”
I offered, “I smell neroli too…”
Sookie added, “And Faerie dust.”
Tyson had it in him to chuckle, but I only offered a grunt.
He asked, “Faerie dust? Doesn’t this make you a little cannibalistic?”
Sookie giggled, “I didn’t know until I was too chilled out to care… but… I’ve decided that if a Faerie lets a Witch sneak up on them, they should get a Darwin Award. The Sullivans take a big amber milk jug, you know- the glass ones, fill it with hyacinth oil, just a pinch of Faerie dust, finely ground cashew shells, agrimony, neroli and ylang ylang… and then they brew it in the sun for at least a week.”
I mumbled, “Faerie hunting. We need to go Faerie hunting.”
Tyson scoffed, “You’re monopolizing the masseuse.”
“I saw her first.” I could hear Asa and Atum laughing at me in their rooms, but I didn’t care.
Sookie snorted, “I guess it’s safe to say this stuff is legit…”
Gawain piped, “Bullshit,” from the doorway, and made himself at home on the chaise at the end of my bed. “Vampires aren’t susceptible to tension. They don’t need massages.”
She sighed, “I’m not exactly a masseuse. I think rubbing the oil into the skin is what does it.”
Tyson grunted and sprawled next to me. “Right then. If that’s all it takes…”
She snickered, “Then Eric should be done, huh?”
“Sounds like it to me. My turn to test your talents.”
Gawain grumbled, “Which ones? She has several hidden talents.”
I offered, “Someone’s jealous. I think he wants a present too.”
Tyson added, “Or. A. Massage,” sourly.
Sookie pulled her hands away from my back, giggling at Tyson’s impatience as though it wasn’t something most people were terrified of.
I lay flat, like the relaxed lump I was, while Sookie warmed oil between her hands for Tyson.
She sighed, “Yeah, well… He’s going to have to stop being such a jackass if he wants anything but a hard time from me.”
When I turned my head, Tyson winked at me and whispered, “My turn.”
“When was the last time you wanted a woman to touch you when cumming wasn’t your endgame?”
His eyes rolled as soon as Sookie touched his back. “Probably… other than that edging phase…”
Gawain inserted, “During which you were a complete cont.”
Tyson groaned, “I think it’s been a few centuries,” when Sookie kneaded his shoulders. “Straddle on, love. Don’t be shy… Fuuuuuuck… I could trade fucking for this though…”
If I gave a fuck, it would have been reassuring to see Tyson have a similar reaction to mine.
Tyson opened his eyes long enough to agree with my earlier suggestion, “Faerie hunting. We need to go Faerie hunting.”