Like A Rock
Sight For Sore Eyes
The first thing I heard as I came back to myself was Cort. “Yer s’possed ta listen ta yer messages.”
I still had to wait a few moments before I could control my mouth enough to ask why I needed to hear my messages, more questions came to me…
How did he know I was conscious? What had Cort and Hunter been doing since they woke? Why didn’t I hear an open phone line, the supervision, I was promised?
“It’s quiet. Is everything alright? Did you have any problems?”
“It’s all good, dude. Hunt’s still sleepin’. I been up fer a coup’la hours. Took a shower. Ate a san’wich. Now I’m readin’. Jus’ chillin’.”
At least the day had been uneventful, but I would have been foolish to consider anything but luck as a factor.
I reached for my phone and my first message was from Pam… She’d called just before dawn in Shreveport.
“You took two little boys to Miami for the World Series… While that’s absolutely adorable, I can’t believe you’d ignore the risks. Since we’ll live forever, I can wait for you to forgive me for what I’ve done.”
Oh, that did not bode well.
The next message was from Bobby.
He was weeping. “Eric, I’m so sorry, but Mrs. DuRone wasn’t interested in your offer to send her to Miami. I don’t know what else to do or say to convince her…” His snotty apologies went on for several minutes, but I couldn’t take any joy from his anxiety like I usually would.
Mr. Mortimer left the third message just a few minutes after Bobby’s…
“Mr. Northman, I just want to thank you again for the authorization to replace the hotel’s fleet, and Mrs. DuRone was an absolute joy to work with. We now have an assortment of vehicles and I’m sure it’s the most painless car purchase I’ve ever made.”
At least he enjoyed his visit with Sookie.
The next message was from Sookie. She giggled, “Hey you. Did you think I’d be able to fly to Miami if your hotel’s manager came to me to replace the shuttles and loaners? You get points for determination though. Bobby had just left in tears right before Mr. Mortimer came in… I miss you guys. Talk to you soon.”
I played the message a second time, listening for clues about what Pam had done to need forgiveness, but the background noise made me sure Sookie was at the showroom.
That was it.
No other messages.
“Cort, should I have messages other than voicemail? Downstairs perhaps? Emails?”
“Ya got tha one from Pam, right?”
“Yes. It wasn’t very enlightening… unless she decided to play a joke and have the room filled with baseballs.”
He giggled, “Tha’ would’a been cool,” and knocked on the door to my room.
When I opened the door…
Sookie was standing there with her forehead drawn up as though she wasn’t sure about how warm her reception would be.
Barefoot in a short denim skirt and tiny white top, but she could have been wearing burlap… she smelled more phenomenal than usual.
Cort snickered, “Kissy-face time,” and blew a raspberry.
She started, “Say you’re mad and I’m outta here,” and thumbed over her shoulder.
“Not mad… not at all… I’m not sure I would have made it through another night without calling the Sheriff to hire a Were to sit in the hallway.”
She smiled and raised her arms to hug my neck while Cort made kissing noises from the sofa… My arms reflexively pulled her closer.
“What made you change your mind?”
“Gran was already fussing at me for thinking she needed help with the girls while we made breakfast. She was downright indignant about it… Then Pam called me. She said you were having a blast until just before she called me. ‘Saying he’s worried is like saying I’m well-dressed. Epic understatement, darling. He hates variables like no one else you’ll ever meet. He does not want those children to be unsupervised while he’s dead.’ We took the girls to see their baby sister and I stopped by the showroom to tie up some loose ends, and then I packed. I landed at 4:20.”
“So nothing changed your mind. You just stopped resisting temptation.”
She giggled, “You’re a really bad influence.”
“You made Bobby weep.”
“I couldn’t resist. I’d already bought my ticket…”
Cort teased, “So ya could ruin a man-cation with kissy-face time.”
Ruin? Ironic that I was happier to see his mother than he was.
She argued, “I’m not here to ruin anything.”
“There wasn’t any huggin’ b’fore ya got here either.”
She scoffed, “You know what?” and stretched up to kiss me.
While Cort writhed and complained from the sofa as though he was in actual pain, Sookie giggled and hummed into my mouth.
When Sookie pulled away for air, she moved to whisper, “My being here doesn’t have anything to do with trust… I just appreciate your distaste for variables. Blame Pam. She was ‘distracted from enjoying a perfectly capable cock by how intense Eric’s mood became’. I was shopping for my ticket before I could get her to shut up about Gawain’s dick.”
“Welcome to my hell. They’re both fond of talking about his cock. I’ve been hearing about it for 900 years.”
She snickered and closed her eyes, resting her forehead against my chest.
“You think it’s funny, but you’ve never heard his original limericks… He speaks dozens of languages, Sookie. Do you know how long it takes to get from Beijing to Constantinople on horseback?”
He was going to have a field day with all the words that almost rhymed with Sookie.
“He’s a turd. He was nagging Pam while she was trying to talk to me. He tried to get my name from her so he could look me up. Pam refused to tell him anything about me though. She was having fun holding out on him.”
“That might last for a few hours, but he’ll have fun making her talk.”
Sookie’s face fell and she gasped, “He’d hurt her?”
I shook my head as there was a knock on the door. “No, but her ‘shoe-seum’ could be in jeopardy…”
Even as I left my room, Cort hadn’t budged to answer the door.
I might have had less to worry about than I thought. He opened the door to greet company at home, but he didn’t even seem to be tempted.
As soon as I opened the door, Connelly tossed a room-key to me. “My friends from last night. Room 303. I’ll keep the lads company while you feed. The brunettes, I fed from the others.”
“Thank you, but I fed last night after the boys went to sleep.”
He raised an eyebrow at me, but when Sookie came into view, he rolled his eyes.
He snorted and walked past me to greet Sookie, “Lovely to see you again, Sookie. You could have trusted us to behave. We made the hookers take their drugs to the bathroom and everything.”
She snorted, “It’s a good thing y’all gave them cab-fare like gentlemen… shame Eric didn’t think to tell the boys to stay out of the mini-bar. Hunter had to be taken to the hospital because he drank a bunch of Goldschläger with his pancakes this morning… he forgot to ask room service for milk. He said it tasted warm. Poor baby’s sleeping it off.”
Beautiful. It was the most incredible mountain of bullshit I’d ever seen… she even managed to work up enough tears to look like she was going to cry.
“Drunk!? The little lad? How’d he make the mistake?”
“He thought it was just a thing at the hotel. The gold detail in the Art Deco style. Petron Gold and the bottles of Crown Royal have gold tassels and the Maker’s Mark has the fancy wax seal… We keep a liquor cabinet at home, but I can’t say I’ve ever had that at the house… I mean, the labels in the mini bar aren’t what I keep around. He knew not to drink the miniature wines… He loads so damn much syrup on his pancakes he can’t taste anything else. Cort might have made the same mistake, but that turd took advantage of the situation and drank every soda in the fridge because I don’t let him have it at home.”
I growled, “At least Hunter had an excuse.”
Cort glanced up from his book sheepishly and mumbled, “I said I’m sorry.”
Connelly asked, “How much did he drink?”
“Four bottles. That’s enough to give me a buzz. He dumped them into a rocks glass because they’re so small… He threw up in the ambulance. His blood alcohol level dropped a lot on its own… The emergency room doc said he’s seen it before, you know, folks on vacation and the kid gets up before the parents.”
The door to the boys’ room opened and Hunter covered his eyes as soon as the light hit him.
He staggered blindly towards Sookie… He might have only just woken, but he actually looked like a little lush…
Sookie lifted him while Connelly watched… he’d completely bought it.
Sookie smoothed Hunter’s back and cooed, “You hung-over?”
He nodded, but he didn’t say anything.
Connelly turned to scowl at me. “How did you not think to tell them to stay out of the mini-bar?”
“Fuck you. Do you think I wanted to rise to hear the poor boy had alcohol poisoning because of a detail I fucking missed!? Look at the list of rules I left for them. Even if I’d thought about the mini bar, they might not have had time to read that far down the list before room service arrived… ”
Sookie frowned and shook her head. “Shhhhhhh, this isn’t Eric’s fault. This isn’t anyone’s fault… This could have happened at home.”
“What did the authorities do? They’ve always got something to say.”
“They called our family doctor back home and reported the incident there, but they don’t suspect this is abuse or neglect.”
“How is it not neglect in a Human’s mind?”
“When Hunter first complained, Cort called me… Said he thought Hunter had food poisoning… It took me a few minutes to get ahold of her, but the Tooth Fairy popped me out here so no one knew they were unsupervised.”
So. Fucking. Perfect.
Sookie giggled, “I keep it kind of close to the vest that we’re friends. I’m sure you understand.”
He closed his eyes and shook his head while the rest of us laughed at him.
The boys answered, “Sucker!”
Sookie swatted his arm and giggled, “Shut up. You know that was funny.”
He nodded and reached to take Hunter from Sookie. “And it’ll be even funnier when Edward and Richard fall for it. Reset lad.”
“Back to your ‘sick bed’.”
While we waited quietly for Edward and Richard to join us, I took Sookie’s things to my room, earning raised eyebrows from Cort and Connelly… but there wasn’t enough time for an awkward conversation before Edward and Richard began singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame on the elevator…
They pounded on the door to my room, shouting that the concierge had earned his keep and found a plethora of Yankees-wear for the boys.
The boys suddenly froze when Sookie opened the door for them, scowling for a moment before turning to storm away from them.
Richard asked, “When did the view in Miami improve?”
She snorted, “When Eric called me from the emergency room. Y’all took my babies to a strip club for dinner and Hunter ended up with food poisoning. Nice, guys. Real nice.”
She’d changed the premise, but they were just as fooled… From the moment she greeted them, to the disgusting sound of Hunter vomiting in the bathroom (complete with dumping a lumpy concoction of mini-bar items into the toilet), until Sookie caught a ride to Miami from her old friend St. Nick…
She had them going for longer than Connelly and he enjoyed every fucking second.
Edward and Richard refused to laugh, but they had to bite their tongues.
When the laughter finally died down, Sookie explained, “Pam called me just before dawn and Eric’s day-guy cornered me at work to shove plane tickets down my throat.”
It was a beautifully evasive way to tell the truth while sparing me from possible jokes about being pussy-whipped or jibes about being unsure of the boys’ safety.
Edward removed a Yankees T-shirt from one of the bags and tossed it to her. “Fine. Get dressed so we can go back to the ‘strip club’ for the boys’ ‘food poisoning’ before the game.”
Sookie shook her head. “I’m not here to mess with your man-cation. I’m just babysitting between dawn and sunset.”
Cort mumbled, “Thank God.”
Edward argued, “Nonsense. As small as Hunter is, he can sit on laps during the game. We can get through the gate without notice. You’ll go too.”
Sookie shook her head. “That’s sweet, but really… I’m not here to crash your party.”
Edward snorted, “Eric, do something with her.”
I shrugged, “She doesn’t need me to tell her she isn’t crashing a party. Cort’s the one making his mother feel unwelcome even though she dropped everything to come to Miami at Pam’s request.”
Edward shook his head and snorted, “Dick move, little man… Who treats their mum like that? It’s not like she’s got a rule book shoved up her arse. She’s fun. She’s letting you miss school for baseball.”
Richard added, “And I think your self-righteous indignation is clouding your memory. You nearly caved in your face last night accidentally… You were going to have a sitter tomorrow whether you liked it or not. We hired a guard when we checked in with the Sheriff.”
They’d been taught so well.
Connelly nodded. “And as fun as it was to fuck with us, we fell for it because your mother gave us completely plausible scenarios. We all died for the day, hoping nothing would happen while you’re unsupervised. Too much shite could happen during the day… You’re the minority vote, Lad. We’ll be waiting in the lobby.”
While my friends filed out of our suite, Cort stormed into his room to change… and Sookie winced when he slammed the door.
She looked like she was close to crying as she walked towards our room to change.
She quickly unzipped her bag and flung open the lid… while she rifled through her clothing, she mumbled, “I never would have guessed this would be the problem.”
I opened my bag and offered, “Is it too idealistic that he comes to his senses with time?”
She sniffled and nodded. “Yeah… He isn’t offended, Eric. He’s jealous.”
She nodded and started shimmying out of her skirt and top. “I was always worried it would be the other way around… hell, it’s at the top of my list. Can’t compete with my kids for my attention…”
She sighed and continued while she dressed, “He thinks I just stole the show.”
“He could just be seething because he was ganged up on.”
She shrugged. “Maybe… but… just in case… I’ll go to dinner with y’all, but then I’m going shopping or something.”
“Are you sure giving him what he wants is the best answer after the snide remarks he made?”
“I hope so… Maybe, he just needs tempering, help realizing it doesn’t have to be either/or.”
I pulled a shirt over my head, completely disagreeing and choking on the knowledge that it wasn’t my fucking place to make any suggestions.
If it was, I’d mention that perhaps the boy needed to be left with a guard as punishment for being so disrespectful to his mother.
Not. My. Place.
Snug jeans, plunging navy blue blouse, tan pumps with a heel Pam would have been proud of… She would have looked phenomenal if it wasn’t for the fact that she was crying.
She took a small bag to the bathroom and washed her face, and after several minutes of trying to reapply eyeliner, she gave up.
She breathed, “I’m just gonna go home, Eric. The guard in the hall is more than enough… and he won’t cause all this trouble. I’m sorry.”
Over my dead body.
“If you return to Shreveport, we all will…”
She whimpered, “No. This isn’t what I wanted…”
“This isn’t what I want either. Cort and Hunter are the only reasons I’m in Miami at all… I would have been perfectly content to stay in Bossier, playing Round Robin and reading Eragon. That would have included you as well.”
“I am… You’re upset and considering leaving Miami. Last night he told me that he appreciates that I don’t talk to him as though he’s a baby, but he’s contradicting himself with infantile behavior…”
She covered her face and mumbled, “I don’t know what to do, Eric.”
“Not that it’s my place…” Yes, I broke, but only because she seemed to be open to suggestions. “I don’t think it sends the best message to let him bully you. I think you should go to dinner and the game. In the interest of making a compromise, we can leave you out of the chain of command to prove that I can and will be the designated ‘party pooper’ if need be.”
She whimpered, “Stand my ground and possibly ruin y’alls trip?”
If Cort didn’t adjust his attitude, the trip would be ruined, or at least cancelled, regardless.
“I’m not letting you leave alone and upset.”
“Ride it out?”
“If I can sit in a brightly lit room with a horseradish-breathing Gorgon, surely you can tolerate a brooding child until his hostility wanes. As annoying as his behavior is, he’s smart enough to realize continuing to sulk will only ruin his trip while the rest of us have fun in spite of him.”
She sniffled, “Are you going to be grumpy? He’s almost as stubborn as I am. He won’t respond to that.”
I had plenty of experience with that… It was as though Cort was a less accessorized version of Pam.
Stubborn seemed to be an understatement.
I had to keep in mind that after spending several nights in his company, this was the first time he’d ever been disagreeable… but when Cort sulked, he did so with zeal.
He could see that he’d upset his mother enough for her to cry, but instead of apologizing, he avoided looking at her face.
That only lasted as long as the elevator ride to the lobby. Scathing looks from three Vampires and complaints about the stench of Sookie’s tears corrected his posture enough for him to give Sookie an apologetic look… and by the time our limo was pulling into the Hooters parking lot, the lighter mood was returning to the group… Edward was trying to figure out if Sookie really had a piece of Fenway Park tucked into her bra to jinx the Yankees.
The hostess’s station was so crowded that adding our party of seven to the small space caused sardine imagery… and eventually, it occurred to me that it was an ironic representation of what the fried menu did to the arteries of Hooters’ customers.
No hostess to be seen, customers trying to squeeze through the crowd at the door to leave… and the added bonus was the party of four young men who started leering at Sookie as soon as we were through the door. Even though she was holding the hands of two small children, they eye-fucked her as though she was on the menu…
Two other men stopped to drool over Sookie… One of them was a Were who stopped in his tracks to grunt and ask if she belonged to anyone. When she nodded towards me, that prick asked if she was hiring for the ‘day shift’.
A male manager escorted us to our booth, and tried to make small talk with Sookie while everyone settled… Because he didn’t have anything better to do than ask Sookie where she was from and how long she’d been a baseball fan.
Hunter whispered to Connelly, “Twenny says tha waitress’s nasty ta Mommy.”
Sookie sat with her legs crossed, leaning against my side while she studied the menu and discussed options with the boys until the waitress arrived…
Molly slid onto the bench next to me, using her elbows to make the best of her padded bra.
“I’m Molly. I’ll be y’alls waitress tonight. What can I get for you boys?”
Sookie answered, “I think we’re going to need a couple of pitchers of sweet tea… and I’ll have a Malibu and Red Bull…”
The waitress scanned the table and asked, “Anyone else want something from the bar?”
While the rest of us shook our heads, Cort piped, “I’ll have a Corona with lime.”
Sookie giggled, “You. Will. Not… You’re a bad drunk, Benjamin Button…”
While Sookie placed their food order, appetizers and sandwiches, the waitress scribbled on her order pad, but she rolled her eyes as though she was annoyed by the sound of Sookie’s voice…
When Sookie was finished, Molly looked at me and asked, “And what can I get for you, big guy?”
“Nothing. Thank you.”
“You aren’t eating anything?”
Edward offered, “He’s saving room for Cracker Jacks.”
“Ohhhhh, you’re on your way to the game, huh? Big baseball fan?”
“No. I’ve been abducted by a cult trying to reprogram me.”
She seemed oblivious to the fact that my friends were laughing… She snatched the menus Sookie offered and watched Sookie’s hand rest on my thigh.
“Do you need to be rescued?”
Sookie giggled and brushed my shin with her foot as I shook my head. “Go Yankees.”
Molly rolled her eyes and left in a rejected little huff.
Richard chuckled and ordered, “Make him say it again, Sookie.”
She giggled, “I didn’t have anything to do with that.”
She had everything to do with that.
Connelly snorted, “Lie… The last time we convinced Eric to take part in any sporting event was the 1920 Olympic Games and that was work. When he wasn’t working, he spent his time corrupting…”
Cort and Hunter didn’t need to hear about that…
I groaned, “You can shut up at any time.”
Sookie asked, “Where was 1920 held?”
I opened my mouth to answer, but Connelly beat me to it. “Antwerp… and Eric was pouting. The Americans made Sweden look like they were lost on the way to the Special Olympics. The boys bet on America. Eric chose Sweden… By the time all was said and done, Eric financed the construction of the boys’ summer house in the Hamptons…”
I wasn’t the only one who helped pay for their little pleasure palace.
I scoffed, “You say that as though you didn’t lose just as much as I did… Betting on Britain lightened your wallet more than Sweden did for me.”
Connelly argued, “I was a good sport about it at least…”
Edward and Richard snorted, “Bullshit,” and Edward turned to the children and offered, “Cried like a baby, he did… And Eric wasn’t pouting as much as watching…”
Hunter breathed, “Washin’ what?”
“We were in a Kingdom we didn’t have many friends in. Had we been discovered, the King would have assumed we were there to cause trouble when we were just hired as guards for athletes. It wasn’t just the four of us, you see… Several other Knights were with us. It would have looked like we were trying to make a move on the King’s territory… Especially once we ran into Mee…”
“Eric’s a giant, yeah? Over six feet tall, Swedish… Mee is tiny like your mum, and Chinese. She’s a Knight like Eric. ‘The North Man’ and ‘The Smiling Death’. Milling about in Belgium, speaking Mandarin. They stand out when they’re together.”
Cort breathed, “Were y’all busted?”
Connelly chuckled, “Almost… The King of a neighboring Kingdom recognized us. Most of us had worked for him before… He thought we were there to overthrow the hosting King…”
When Connelly paused for dramatic effect, Hunter gasped.
“And the son of a bitch offered us sanctuary.”
Cort interrupted, “The waitress is comin’… Twenny bucks says if Mommy an’ Eric’re kissin’, she’ll try ta dump a drink on’er.”
Sookie argued, “I’m not doing anything that’ll get a drink dumped on me, Cort…”
Edward snorted, “I won’t let it hit you. I’m in. I doubt she’d go to that extreme. Eric isn’t that beautiful.”
“Yes, I am.”
Sookie tilted her chin up and giggled, “And humble. Beautiful and humble.”
As the waitress arrived at our table with a tray full of beverages, Sookie tried to give me a passive peck, but I didn’t let her off that easily…
Cort groaned and contorted, chiding himself for mentioning kissy-face time, while Molly roughly delivered the pitchers and glasses…
And lo and behold, Sookie’s Malibu and Red Bull would have ruined her clothing if Edward hadn’t caught Molly’s hand.
While the rest of us simply scowled at her, Edward scoffed, “Trifling cunt. He’s spoken for.”
She hissed, “Watch it, kid.”
I growled, “He isn’t a child and it isn’t his fault you were stupid enough to flirt with the only one of us who has a date…” I paused, waiting for her to become indignant enough to make eye contact with me before taking over. “You’re going to stop flirting with me and do your job. You won’t tamper with anyone’s food. You won’t try to spill more drinks. Do you understand, Molly?”
She nodded absentmindedly.
“Good girl. Run along.”
As Molly left the table with a stupefied grin on her face, the boys gaped at me.
I should have known better than to assume Cort and Hunter wouldn’t notice that there was more to what I’d said than just a command… but I couldn’t think of a way to explain glamouring without scaring them.
Their jaws were slack and their eyes were bulging. Edward and Richard went as far as snapping their fingers to try to get Cort and Hunter’s attention.
“I broke them.”
Sookie took a sip of her drink and agreed, “Yeah, ya did. When they snap out of it, you’re going to have a lot of explaining to do.”
As worried as I was about explaining glamour without scaring the boys, I hoped their questions would help set the pace, lead me through how to enlighten them. The added complication was that Sookie couldn’t be glamoured and I couldn’t have guessed if that would come up.
And it seemed as though Sookie was just as anxious… She’d finished her drink and began eating her ice while we waited.
At least my friends were amused by the boys’ states… Edward and Richard filled their idle time by amusing themselves, slipping sweetener packets into Cort and Hunter’s clothing.
Hunter. He was the first one to manage to shake off his surprise. He blurted, “Tha was… crazy!”
Of course… his first comment didn’t help me at all.
“It’s called glamour.”
Cort finally blinked, but his mouth was still open… he hadn’t realized there was a Sweet’N Low packet in it either.
Hunter repeated, “Crazy!”
“Most Humans are susceptible to glamour. They’re practically puppets while the glamour lasts, but it’s short term. I can glamour Molly to behave, but it will wear off. Eventually, she’ll dump a drink on someone else’s date.”
Keeping the explanation in the relevance of the moment, hoping they wouldn’t let their imagination wander to what I could glamour them to do.
The last thing I wanted was for them to be afraid of me.
Connelly snorted, “Humans, not other Supes… Except, I did see Gawain glamour a Shifter once, but that one was a moron and, well, as old as Gawain is…”
I specified, “Not all Humans. Sookie can’t be glamoured…”
Sookie’s body tensed against my side… but I had to volunteer the information. If the subject came up any other way, it would have seemed like I was hiding something.
“I tried to glamour her when we met. She isn’t more difficult to glamour. She’s immune.”
“Bullshit! You’re taking the piss!”
I shook my head, and I might have laughed if I wasn’t worried about the boys’ reactions. “I was planning to warn you to behave anyway. Given that Sookie can’t be glamoured, it’s possible the boys can’t be either. It could be an anomaly, but it could be a family trait.”
Better safe than sorry.
Richard probed, “Have you tried to glamour her any other time?”
I shook my head. “Why?”
“Because she could have accidentally charmed herself… If she…”
Ah… the Witches in their woodpile…
Edward nodded as though he’d caught on to his brother’s train of thought. “Rosemary, cedar and silver… with all the ‘botanical’ body products available now, it’s possible, likely even.”
Sookie shook her head. “I have too many Were friends. I stopped wearing silver long before I met Eric… I have cedar shelves in my closet and I cook often, so the other two are possible, but they would be a stretch.”
Edward leaned over and inhaled Sookie’s scent and his eyes rolled back slightly… if it was anyone else, for any other reason…
“Coconut and honeysuckle?”
Sookie nodded. “Yeah… I usually wear one or the other, but I packed in a hurry. The woman next to me on the plane smelled like smoked salmon and spearmint. Body spray was my only defense.”
I mentioned, “She smelled of coconut when I tried to glamour her,” even though I thought they were barking up the wrong tree.
He shrugged. “We only know the old recipes. Honeysuckle is used in love potions… Coconut could have some magical properties, but it isn’t as though we learned to use it.”
Richard offered, “I’ve seen it used in superstitious fertility rituals though.”
Edward and Richard nodded thoughtfully for a moment before Connelly blurted, “I can’t believe you’re buying this! He’s fucking with us, boys.”
Sookie scoffed and leaned forward. “Glamour me then. Twenty grand.”
“You’re bluffing. You don’t have that kind of cash…”
Sookie raised an eyebrow at him, waiting for him to take the bait. “I don’t have a mortgage or a car payment. More than half of my income goes into savings… Not that it matters because I’m not going to lose.”
I knew he would.
As soon as Sookie gave the debate a cash value, he was on her hook.
At least he looked like he was conflicted over it.
He leaned forward, looking as sure of himself as a newborn trying to perform his first glamour, and stared at Sookie intensely…
When she giggled, he balked.
“You’re going to leave the table and find that manager to give him a kiss.”
Sookie snorted, “Why would I do that?”
His eyes bulged, but he pressed on, “He was very friendly to you and you want to thank him.”
“But I don’t want to lead him on.”
He wasn’t catching on… Some people, very few, could resist somewhat, but that wasn’t the case with Sookie.
“You don’t mind. He’s probably a very good kisser.”
She sat back and scoffed, “You think he needs to be thanked so much, you kiss him… Bearer bonds please. That way I don’t have to claim your spanking on my taxes.”
When the rest of us started laughing, Cort realized the packet of sweetener was still in his mouth and spit it onto the table.
I asked, “Do you have a treasure-trove of Bearer bonds?”
“Maybe a customer wanted to use some to purchase a car or two… I could have worked out the transfer with him… He probably took a bit of a bath.”
Brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant.
My cheeky little ‘pet’ was certainly full of surprises.
Cort blurted, “That was… crazy!” just like his brother had.
I offered, “But usually harmless as long as glamour isn’t repeatedly performed on the same Human. Vampires can glamour Humans to do nearly anything but I usually just erase memories of something they shouldn’t have seen.”
His eyes shot back and forth between me and Connelly for a moment before he demanded, “You do it. You glamour Mommy.”
“Why? Connelly just proved it can’t be done.”
Sookie explained, “It doesn’t hurt if that’s what you’re worried about, baby. It actually tickles. The first time a Vampire tried to glamour me, I thought I was having a stroke or something because my brain felt like there was little bubbles in it. Like when you drink a soda that still has the foam on top.”
He argued, “It’s different! When Eric glamoured Molly, it was like his mind swallowed hers…” He laced his fingers together loosely. “But Connelly’s like… bounced off’a yers!” He balled his hands into fists and collided them to demonstrate.
That was… utterly bizarre…
It was a fitting enough description in a figurative sense, but… he seemed to be speaking so literally.
Sookie gave him a very serious look and whispered through clenched teeth, “It’s also illegal for them to glamour people, so why don’t you stop yelling about it?”
He cringed and mumbled, “Sorry.”
It wasn’t anything to be concerned with… the trick to glamouring was that being caught was difficult when we could also glamour witnesses and police… most of them… and Weres could usually be convinced glamouring a Human was in the ‘best interest of the Supernatural community’.
I offered, “I’m more than willing to answer any questions you might have, but we should do that privately.”
He smiled with one corner of his mouth. “K… We goin’ fer another walk on tha beach t’night?”
“I don’t see why not.” And the isolation would provide more than enough privacy for the topic.
Sookie began pouring teas for everyone and Cort asked, “So… can y’all talk ‘bout tha Knight stuff? Are all y’all Knights?”
I shook my head. “I’m not a Knight. I’m a Sheriff. Connelly’s actually been retired for nearly a hundred years now, but only because he’s friends with the Queen of New York. If he’d tried to settle down anywhere else, he would have found himself working as a Knight in some capacity again…”
Connelly nodded, “Like Eric ended up being a Sheriff. Francesca and I were newborns together, so we have a rapport, but the Queen of Louisiana is scared of anyone with friends, money and power. She knows that if Eric wanted Louisiana he’d have it, so she hired him as an excuse to keep tabs on him.”
Cort breathed, “Woooooowwwwww.”
Hunter asked Richard, “Are y’all Knights?”
He shook his head. “No sir. We’re unemployed.”
I snorted, “Lie. Their Maker is the Queen of New York. Those little assholes help her run her territory as Lieutenants.”
Edward scoffed, “Like Brother said, we’re unemployed. We’re bored out of our minds. Nothing exciting has happened in decades.”
“Spare me. I could have spent the last thirty years with Tilda and no one would notice.”
Hunter piped, “Who’s Tilda?”
“An old friend. She Lords over a district of Norway that has constant night for several months at a time.”
Fucked, yes. Dated? “No.”
Fucked, yes. Dated? “No.”
Connelly was going to bite through his lip if someone didn’t stop Hunter from listing every female Vampire he’d heard of… Simza and Bronya would have been next, perhaps Francesca as well… then he’d search his memory for the ones who’d been mentioned on the plane last night.
He chuckled, “Vampires don’t do much dating, lad.”
He scoffed, “No wonder yer bored. Yer juss as bad as Mommy.”
Sookie shrugged. “Books are better than wasting time with jerks and morons. I’m just selective about who I spend my time with. Don’t make fun of me for finding something better to do.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Edward chuckled, “Corvettes, Bearer bonds, books, they both get stalkers at first sight, selling ice to Eskimos… we could sew them together and they might not notice.”
Richard added, “Jesus. It’s like they’re soul mates.”
But I couldn’t bring myself to complain. Melodramatic as his parlance was, I had a very valid reason to enjoy spending time with Sookie.