Chapter 27: Curtains

 Meanwhile

Chapter 27

Curtains

**

Considering the amount of tension I felt as I came back to myself, I was expecting to rise somewhere I shouldn’t.

Sookie’s hands were firmly clasped around mine where she’d pulling it onto her lap and she was staring down at me… on her knees next to me, biting her lip and looking and feeling more overwhelmed than ever.

“What’s happened?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know… Something’s wrong.”

I forced my eyes away from hers to look around, take in my surroundings… Our bags were packed and sitting next to the door to the room I’d died in. Sookie was wearing a sundress I’d seen in her suitcase already. Our rings were exactly where they should’ve been and there was a chorus of heartbeats pounding in the commons… the television was still airing news about the Fellowship’s fuckery.

“This isn’t a skip.”

She shook her head again.

“Then what are you worried about?”

She cleared her throat, shifting slightly and tightening her grip on my hand. “I woke up and… Alcide was already gone so I let Quinn in because he was posted outside… I ordered breakfast and started packing…”

“I told you to relax today. Did you hurt yourself?” As anxious as she was, as barely alive as I was… I could’ve missed any pain she might’ve been feeling.

Another shake of her head. “No… I’m fine. Perfect… except… we were eating breakfast…”

“Is Quinn not behaving?”

She inched closer. “He’s actually getting better… Eric, why would a Vampire wake up during the day?”

“Pam rose? In the middle of the day?”

“Not Pam… Sweetie, the Berts.”

I shook my head, still wracking my brain as to why Sookie was so panicked. “I couldn’t possibly know. Unless it’s something Sophie-Ann gave them… We could be mistaken about the reason as to why your cousin doesn’t die.”

Her eyes started to well. “They die… They’re dead now.”

“They die, but they rose. Now they’re dead again?”

She nodded, taking one of her hands from mine to cover her mouth and start to sob. “It was… it was horrible.”

“What did they do?”

She shook her head, crying more violently… unable to reign in her hysterics to speak coherently. While I pulled her into my lap, doing my best to force her to calm down, I looked her over to see if they’d injured her.

It took her too long… It seemed as though the little bit of calm she absorbed did nothing but transfer her alarm to me… By the time she was breathing enough to not be light headed, her face was covered in blotches and her eyes were glowing.

She sputtered, “They screamed…” and began hyperventilating again.

“Is that all?”

She shook her head and started fighting against my arms in a race to get to the bathroom where she started vomiting…

I left the bed to follow her, stopping to open our door to look into the commons. Jason, Alcide and Hunter were on the sofas and they immediately noticed me. I doubted any of them would succumb to a crying jag that kept them from telling me what was going on. “What the fuck happened?”

Alcide shook his head and pointed to Jason. “I was at Hutchins.”

Jason, big surprise, shrugged. “I woke up to the most God awful yelling… The Berts was roaring… wasn’t human…”

“They aren’t human, jackass. Had someone gotten into their rooms? Harmed them?”

He shook his head. “Naw. Me and Sook got to the hall about the same time. We was gonna check on ‘em… They came running out of their rooms, swords up… Paulette was in with Ema, helping her pack… when she came out to the hall, the light hit ‘em. She shut the door real fast, but they fell over… Wybert fucked himself up. Almost ran himself through…”

“Sunlight hit them and they died.”

“Well… y’alls kinda dead, not dead dead.”

“That was it?”

“I helped Sook get them back to their beds… she sat with Wybert until he was pretty much healed up.”

“They didn’t say anything?”

He shook his head. “I cain’t tell ya what they yelled. Wasn’t English. Sook’s all kinds of freaked out, had Paulette ward their rooms so they cain’t get out… warded this one again so they ain’t getting in until they’re invited.”

“They didn’t harm anyone.”

“Cept Wybert… naw.”

“Sookie didn’t say anything about her reasons for enclosing them?”

“Naw. Just said ‘better safe then sorry’. Since they had their swords out and all…”

Alcide cleared his throat and added, “She was worried, but alright until Ema brought her a drawing.” FUCK.

I was almost afraid to ask, “What’s the drawing of?”

“It’s a really accurate portrait of Mr. Cataliades. Sookie officially started flipping out about an hour later… went and sat with you.”

“Cataliades? Anything else?”

“Picture’s on the bar. Ema was all kinds of excited because she used different colors in the same drawing…”

I grabbed the sketch from the bar… Felix Cataliades in the foreground wearing his usually gracious grin and the back ground included a sketch of green and orange flowers.

Jason chuckled, “Not bad, huh? You got any ideas what kind of flowers those is?”

“Jason, those would be Dianthas and Gladiolas.” Flowers. First the Queen’s children wake during daylight hours to make an attempt to get to my room… then the added confusion of ‘Flowers’ being sent… but for who? The call I’d made to Andre just before dawn could’ve been faked, but he’d seemed genuinely pleased to hear that Sookie was healed and that a large step had been made to discredit the Fellowship… I’d figured that the news that Milne was willing to entertain Sophie-Ann’s proposal was responsible for Andre’s unusually good mood… but it could’ve been bullshit…

What everything seemed to be adding up to…

I had served my purpose…

Sookie was more valuable than ever…

The Berts were on their way to me…

The Flowers had been sent to collect the Queen’s telepaths.

“Hey! Like Mr. C’s nieces, right?” I’d almost lost track of the conversation to nowhere.

“Exactly.”

“That’s even cooler then.”

“The Berts weren’t told about Ema’s true nature last night. They were told that she was hired to help with Hunter, yes?”

Alcide nodded. “Yeah.”

Jason shook his thick melon. “What? She wasn’t? What the hell is she for then?”

“Jason, Ema is a psychic. Her drawings are premonitions.”

“Yeah? Think she can help me find my cell phone?”

“Jason?”

“Yeah?”

“Shut up and be pretty.”

**

When I joined Sookie in the bathroom, she was holding her hair back with her face submerged in the sink full of cold water.

I put a towel next to her on the counter and took her hair, rubbing her back in the hopes that she would stay as calm as she was… for the time being. Considering the possible future, she wouldn’t be calm for long. I had a strong feeling that she’d had plenty of time to come to the same conclusion I had.

That our lives were about to fall to shit.

She pulled her face out of the water long enough to gasp for air and then cool her face again three times before she used the towel.

“I got as much info as I could from Alcide and Jason. What don’t they know?”

Her throat clenched. “They’re downstairs… They’ve been here for about an hour. I can’t tell what they’re waiting for…”

“Who?”

“Mr. C and the girls… they’re all freaking out… they’re freaking out like Mr. C was when he brought the proposal… All three of them are flipping their lids.”

“We don’t know what that means…”

“Yes we do… Eric, you have to get Pam and get the hell out of here… Go to Milne or something. The wards aren’t going to hold the Berts forever. You’ve got to get out of here. If I cooperate, then Hunter and I will be fine. Alcide’s loyalty is to me. You’ve got to go.”

“I’m not going anywhere. Did you disarm the Berts?”

She nodded. “Yeah… what I found… their swords and guns are cased up behind the bar…”

“Then, if I have to, I’ll relieve the Queen of five of her most loyal servants. I’m not going to run. Have you made arrangements with Paulette and Ema?”

“Yeah. They should be here any minute. I had Paulette re… re…” She started hyperventilating again and crashed into my chest. “Eric… please go… I get that you’re a bad ass and all, but… all 5 of them… Milne likes you… he could give you sanctuary or something.”

“The only thing I’ve ever hidden from is severe weather. I’ll stand my ground… only one of them can get through the door at a time.”

“No. No, you take Pam and regroup… I’ll play along and suck it up. I doubt they’ll do anything but use my telepathy for now. It’ll give you time to come up with a plan.”

“I have a plan.”

“It could get you killed… Damn it, Eric. I’ve lost a lot. I refuse to lose you too.”

“I’m not leaving the three humans under my protection. If they’ve been sent… If we’re right about why, then they’d kill your brother to force your compliance… then hold Hunter’s life as a guarantee.”

“Because you would?”

“If I were in the practice of being an imperceptive cunt with no grasp of allegiance, yes. Turning you, considering your cousin’s attributes, would be a temptation too. It would give them a way to control you.”

“Then get the hell out of here. The only way…” The only way they’d get her away from me would be if I was a puddle.

“We wait.”

She whimpered, “Eric…”

“Do you really want to argue? I’m not running. I’m not leaving you. We wait.”

“There’s no fucking exit, Eric. We’re trapped in this room.”

“If it comes to it, I’ll push out the wall.”

She shoved herself away from me and went to grab her phone. Determined, depressed, flustered. “What is that, DeSalvo Street?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Because I’m calling a cab company…  just in case… I don’t want you getting pinned down. We can take cabs… you can Peter Pan your way to safety… You’d be the first objective.”

“You seem to be thinking ahead…”

She snapped, “No. I’m thinking about how to get out of this and still have you Goddamn it. Do you have any cash?”

“A few thousand…”

She cut me off. “What section?”

“What section of what?”

“What section of wall do you think you’ll push out?”

“Sookie…”

“Eric, if you’re going to be a proud jackass then fucking humor me. What section of wall do you think you’d destroy so we can get out?”

“The one in the commons would make the most sense.”

She grabbed a suitcase and flipped it open, yanking her dress off and pulling on a pair of jeans… replacing her heels with sneakers and yanking a T-shirt on. “That bag there has my ‘thank you’ gifts in it. Alcide brought them up from the hotel safe when he got back. It’s mostly jewelry. We could pawn it on the fly.”

“I have access to untraceable accounts. We don’t have to worry about that. Are you almost done obsessing over our escape route?”

“No. Where do we go? Michelle told me that you told her to have an escape planned… tell me you have exit strategy.”

“From here we’d go to Houston and make our way to Monaco.”

She stopped closing her suitcase mid-zip to stare at me. “Since when?”

“Night before last… before you shared your ‘shit sandwich’ analogy. We were thinking in terms of someone ending Sophie-Ann and leaving before I was put in a position to fight for a state I’m uninterested in ruling.”

“So… everything you own…”

“It’s not much. I’ve learned over the years to keep things as liquid as possible. My companies pay my dividends to offshore accounts. We’ll be fine no matter…”

“Let me worry about getting out of the hotel. K? After that, I’m good. I could give a shit about everything else… I just don’t want to walk out of here without you.”

“You won’t.”

“Well shit, Eric. You should’ve told me that you’re a psychic.”

“Calm down.”

“No. There are two, count them, TWO Saxons almost your age who tried to get to you in broad daylight… and two more little hitmen downstairs. Me calming down isn’t likely. I doubt they’re here just to let you know you won the mail in vote for Mr. Congeniality.”

“Alright, let me put it another way… Calm the fuck down so I can think. Your conniption is affecting me and I need to be level headed if we have ANY chance of getting through this.” She took a deep breath, glaring at me… and I felt her fall away from our bond. Nothing.

“Better?” If ever there was something convenient about her ability to manipulate our bond, that was it. Since she could resist my control of it, at least she could prevent collateral damage by blocking her moods from mine.

“That isn’t what I meant, but…”

I was interrupted by a knock on the bedroom door.

**

Without an answer, Jason still cracked the door and leaned in. “Ummm… I know y’all are bickering and stuff, but… Quinn’s here… he was flippin’ his shit before, but since Alcide’s got his gun on ‘em and ain’t inviting him in, he’s ‘bout ready to shit his pants.”

“What does he want?”

Jason shrugged. “He’s asking to talk to you. Says… says it’s Vampire business… Alcide says Sookie needs to stay in here since Quinn’s on the payroll… says you’d know what that meant.” Not only was Quinn on the Queen’s payroll, but I’d given him a gun which would make his job easier if he had the forethought (or coaching) to get wooden bullets.

Fuck. Me.

After having Jason and Hunter join her, I left Sookie where she was, knees bouncing and running her hands through her hair nervously.

As soon as I closed the door behind me, I heard it open again… She’d cracked it so that she could eavesdrop.

Alcide had his gun drawn, just out of Quinn’s reach and aimed at his face.

“What do you want, Quinn?”

He pointed to Alcide fearfully. “What’s this shit? I haven’t done anything!

“I have a lot of practice disposing of bodies, Tiger. Explain why you’re here or yours will be the first one I hide in Dallas.”

His eyes widened and he gaped for a moment before he forced himself to speak. “I… Jake… Jake Purifoy… he called…”

“It must warm the cockles of your heart that he misses you. Thank you for the update.”

“He… I told him I’m in Dallas, right? I didn’t tell him why, you know, that I’m here with you… He just saw y’all on the news like everyone else.”

“Get to your point.” The only reason his nose hadn’t been rebroken by a slamming door was that he’d mentioned our helpful little Wolf friend.

He sputtered, “He… He wanted me to…”

“Fuck! Quinn, in case you aren’t catching on, we aren’t in the mood for games at the moment.”

“Hadley called him, but he didn’t have a signal. He just got the message a little while ago… she… she suicided today.” My mouth fell open.

“She committed suicide? How does he know?”

“The message she left… he tried calling her back and got her voicemail. He went to where she was holed up… the house went up in flames around noonish.” I caught myself sighing… feeling a huge relief… The Berts waking during the day could be explained by Sophie-Ann feeling Hadley’s death… the transference could’ve clouded their grasp of their surroundings… Cataliades would be the logical courier of the news to Hadley’s relatives.

“What message did she leave?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know… he told me that it was private… that it was just for you and Sookie.”

“She left a message for me and Sookie on his phone instead of one of ours?”

“Not by the sounds of it… but he said that it was none of my business since it’s Sookie’s family. He forwarded it to me… you know, so you could hear it.” Note to self: Give Purifoy our phone numbers.

I nodded to Alcide to have him stand down.

As I reached for Quinn’s phone, Alcide growled, “Fuck. Now I’m gonna have to be nice to Jake, aren’t I?”

“More than that. I’m hoping you can train him to be a decent guard. He’s proving to be relatively loyal.” Not to mention how sharp the boy seemed to be when it came to dire circumstances.

**

I went back to my room where every surviving Stackhouse was waiting for me… Sookie had heard, but Jason and Hunter were left oblivious without the benefit of heightened hearing.

“Can you think of any reason that Hunter shouldn’t hear the message?”

Sookie bit her lip and shook her head. “No… He could get it out of our heads later.”

I nodded and pressed the send button to dial Quinn’s voicemail and then turned the speaker on.

“Hey Jake… Ummm… I just… I just called to say… bye, I guess. I… I overheard Andre and Soph talking. He’s trying to convince her to put me down. He… That prick called me temperamental. She said she won’t do it, but she will eventually. She always listens to him eventually. Especially now that Andre finally got her to talk to Texas about marrying his queer ass and he’s down with it. If I just let things go, I’m gonna get dragged out into the woods and staked and I’m not gonna go down like that. I’ve known for a while that they’ve just kept me around for the benefits… fuck them for keeping me like a candy bar. I don’t care that I taste more like fae now that I’m dead. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of being used and I’m sick of the bullshit and now they’ve got me locked in a room like they grounded me for not doing my homework. I wish I’d died when the baby was born… if I’d known… Nevermind that… I’m just sick of it all. I didn’t think it would be like this. Um… yeah… sorry… Bye.”

That was it. Her farewell address amounted to just over a minute worth of annoyed ranting about being ‘SICK’ of her life. She had plenty of synonyms at her disposal… fed up, bored, unhappy, revolted, weary, disgusted, displeased… of all her options, she used the word ‘SICK’ four times. No ear infection or hangover… Hadley was sick. Two out of three… and when I reconsidered things, curtains weren’t just a window treatment… Hadley was sick of her life and took her final bow… she took her curtain call. Fuck.

She didn’t sound depressed, just infantile. She sounded exactly as Andre described her… temperamental. She’d killed herself as part of a hissy fit.

All four of us stared at the phone as though we were waiting for it to do a trick.

Hunter was the first to speak. “Hadley died?”

Sookie’s eyes stared to water again. The boy had found out that his mother, estranged as she was, had died finally by listening to her suicide note. Even I felt sympathy for him.

I nodded. “She did.”

He set his jaw like I’d seen Sookie do enough to know that his reaction wasn’t going to be anywhere near ‘sedate’. His eyes started to well as he shook his head. And finally, he wailed, “NOOOOO!”

Sookie tried to pick him up, but he ran past her to me. Lifting him when he tried to climb me felt automatic, but thinking of something settling to tell him wasn’t as easy. “She wasn’t a happy Vampire, Hunter. It happens a lot… Going over is too hard for some.”

He hid his face, sobbing against my neck while Sookie rubbed his back. “Hunter?”

He pushed his face against me, still weeping… Sookie suddenly covered her mouth and stepped back… her crying became more severe.

“What?”

Before she could get her wits to answer, Hunter’s grip tightened and he yelled through his tears, “DON’T SEND ME BACK!”

“Send you where?”

“With Remy! I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to!” I’d thought his outburst was due to grief. There truly wasn’t a manual for Stackhouses.

“Hunter, if Hadley is gone then you’re safe to…”

“I WANT TO STAY WITH YOU!”

Without thinking, I told him, “Fine.”

He sputtered, “Rrr… really?”

“Really. If that’s what it’ll take to make you stop rubbing your snot all over me, then yes. You’ll stay with us.” It was a sad state of affairs that a boy his age would rather be in the company of Vampires than his own father… but judging by the look on Sookie’s face, she more than understood.

When he snickered, he backed away enough to wipe the side of my neck. “What if Remy wants me back?”

“I’ll glamour him.”

“To change his mind?”

“To think Hadley is still alive and a danger to you.”

“I get… I get to… You’ll keep me?”

“Why not? You don’t make much mess. You’re a good pet.”

He seemed satisfied with my answer, if not amused with the joke, and when I set him down so that he could go clean his face, Jason finally broke his silence… He hugged Sookie and told her he ‘got it’.

**

It took longer for Sookie to calm down than Hunter.

She all but collapsed onto the bed, only holding her head up by bracing her elbows on her knees and taking deep breaths through her hands.

“Do you realize how this changes things?”

She shook her head without looking up.

I sat next to her and she slumped against my side. “Quinn said the fire happened around noon. That’s when the Berts rose?”

She nodded.

“Sophie-Ann would’ve felt her child’s death. She most likely rose the same way in New Orleans… Understand?”

“I guess… I guess I was freaking out for nothing?”

“Not exactly. You reached the same conclusion I did. Until we heard about Hadley, that’s what all the available roads led to.”

“I’m sorry I yelled at you.” She hadn’t been yelling at me as much as the situation. If I hadn’t understood that, then we would’ve had a repeat of our last argument.

“I yelled back…” Hunter came from the bathroom with a quirky smile on his face and handed a washrag to me for ‘his snot’. “Thank you…”

Sookie took the rag and cleaned the side of my neck for me. “The Daemons?”

“Probably just here to inform you of the death in the family.”

She nodded as the information sunk in. “I’m going to call room service then… have them send a donors up for the Berts. They tend to wake up just after you do.”

I’d only risen half an hour before, even then it was early because of Sookie’s mood…

At least Sookie’s disposition was less burdened as it slowly came back to our bond.

**

Quinn was giving (seemingly) genuine condolences to Sookie when I tossed his phone back to him and sat on the sofa next to Ema… Hunter had grabbed her recent drawing and her portfolio and bounced onto my lap.

Hunter pouted when I shushed him because of Quinn’s presence… Patience wasn’t a virtue of the young apparently.

Once Quinn was thanked with all our hearts for his messenger skills and excused, Hunter eagerly unzipped Ema’s binder. “Your ability is awesome.”

She giggled as she watched him. “Thanks.”

“I was wondering about your brain. It’s crazy big and super still.”

“As opposed to?”

He stopped leafing through her sketches and gave her a serious look. “Small and busy.”

She bit her lip to dial back her amusement. “I meant what are other brains like?”

He nodded his head from side to side as he went back to his task. “Small and busy. Humans are like a blender. Noise and all. Vampires are awesome too ‘cause they’re quiet…” He stopped again to study the ceiling. “Depending on the Vampire, it’s like watching a river go by.”

“Like hypnotic?”

He blurted, “YEAH!” and it made her jump. He continued with a giggle, “That’s the word.”

“So mine is like… what? Like a pond?  You said it’s still.”

He shook his head while he thought about it. He blurted again, “Rock candy…”

Sookie giggled from her post of watching for donors at the doorway. “That’s perfect. That’s exactly what it’s like… little crystals.”

He nodded enthusiastically and studied the once mysterious sketch of the room in flames before he thrust it to Ema. “That happened.”

She gasped, “What!?”

“Today. That happened today.”

“Oh my God! Was someone hurt!?”

He nodded. “Yep. Hadley died. Killed herself.” No feeling. He was as invested in that sketch as I’d been in the drawing of Fangtasia’s bombing.

Her eyes started to fill and I was tempted to jokingly ask if I was going to get a turn crying. “Who… who is Hadley?”

Hunter shrugged. “She was my mother. She was a bratty Vampire. She killed herself because she didn’t like her lot.”

“You… you poor baby.”

He pet her hand. “It’s ok. She tried to kill me. Anyway…” He pushed the new sketch of Cataliades into her lap. “He’s cool. You drew him ‘cause you’re about to meet him. He’s downstairs.”

She heaved out a deep breath and gulped. “Oh God… Is he going to die or is he going to kill someone else?”

I answered her. “He’s here to tell us about Hadley. I’m sure he didn’t realize the news would beat him here. Pam’s fond of the saying, ‘you can’t outrun Motorola’…” I pointed to the flowers. “You’ll meet them too. Diantha and Gladiola are his nieces and they’ve come with him.”

She flopped her head back to rest on the sofa. “Great… they’re gonna die then!”

Hunter inched off of my lap, taking over my task of encouraging her… he flipped the stack of sketches over and began going through them. “Don’t do that. Don’t cry. Look… All the bad stuff you drew happened already. Look. All that’s left is these two.”

Alcide shook his head. “Nope… that one with the boxes stacked up… I think that’s done too.” I’d already made my own assumptions since Sookie was planning to move to Shreveport.

“Sookie?”

“My meeting today. Webster. Since you offered a house to the guy, his ‘anything’ was that his daughter could go ahead and move into it with her kids. Her husband just took off.”

“That was his ‘anything’? His genie wish?”

“Yeah.”

“And the answer to your question… his reasons for staying, but still being willing to work for me?”

“Said he figured if he went on the lam he’d never get to see his family again. Turns out the reason he was doing his thing was because he’d been pink slipped… finding new work wasn’t easy for him.”

“Explaining the small increments…”

“And weekly withdrawals… He seems straight forward enough. Said he wants the right to turn you down for certain work written into his contract.”

“To what extent?”

“I don’t think your plans are going to give him a bad taste. I think it’s more of an innocent women and children thing.”

“Do you have an address for his daughter?”

“I put Paulette to work when I got back. She can’t sit still when she’s worried. She’s already rented a house and scheduled a moving company. I called Shelby and told her that I just got out of jail, owed her dad a favor for watching my back… cellmates… blah blah blah. She moves next weekend.”

“Nice work.”

“Do I get a biscuit?” I was definitely finding out I was a ‘dog person’.

“No… but I think Sookie has something for you.”

He braced himself when she started to giggle. “Told. You. So.”

He growled at himself. “That wasn’t so ba…”

Toldyaso, toldyaso, toldyaso…”

“That’s SOOOOO grown up!”

She started her reply with a raspberry and called him a ‘dingleberry’ after singing several more toldyasos.

At least she was being difficult in his direction… and in somewhat of a joking mood.

**

When I heard the elevator bell ring, Sookie’s mood darkened again, but only slightly.

Sookie still managed to sound friendly. “Hey there. Ladies, you can wait right there. They’re just starting to stir… Mr. C, Diantha, Gladiola, nice to see you again.”

Cataliades sounded just as nervous as Sookie described. “Miss Stackhouse, always a pleasure, but I’d like to meet you under more positive circumstances eventually.”

She sighed. “We heard. Jake called Quinn. He got a voicemail from Hadley.”

“I’m sorry, dear. I was first alerted by Miss Broadway. I have to assume that Mr. Purifoy received a similar message.”

“It would’ve been nice if she’d bothered herself with a message for her son… I guess that would be asking too much. Please come in.”

“I should notify the Berts as well…”

“They know something’s up. They woke up when it happened. They were out of sorts enough to leave their rooms. Once they’re completely with it, I’ll go fetch them… I was going to tell them, but… What are y’all doing?”

When Alcide and Jason’s eyes bulged, I turned to look at them since my back had been to the door.

I rolled my eyes when I saw them… Cataliades and both of his nieces were all bowed, on one knee. “I’m not amused. Get up.”

“Apologies.”

Sookie excused herself to go to the Berts so I invited the Daemons to sit down and asked Ema (our nanny) to take Hunter to his room to ‘help him pack’.

When he opened his mouth to start his explanation, I stopped him. “In the interest of saving you the trouble of repeating yourself, I’m sure Sookie will only be a moment.”

He nodded and proceeded to fester and sweat in his seat… and drum his fingers on his briefcase handle.

While we waited, I sent Jason to explain to Pam and bring her back…

Waiting…

Drumming…

Staring…

I could feel Sookie’s sympathetic nature kick into overdrive, most definitely including tears, before she closed herself off again.

The awkward silence made the rhythmic pounding on the leather attaché case deafening.

Alcide went to the bar and offered drinks… he was most likely inspired by the lawyer’s weeping pores… He looked hot enough that I might’ve been parched.

Paulette joined us.

Jason returned with Pam.

Sookie was still standing in Wybert’s room and the 20 minute wait was making me worry enough to consider going after her…

As she slowly made her way back to our suite, she opened herself up again and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear that she was trying to calm my nerves… It actually made me smile.

The Berts loitered along the wall, pausing to give me a deep nod… And Sookie stopped directly behind me, putting her hands on my shoulders, and sighed, “All present and accounted for, Master.”

“Mr. Cataliades, you’ve got a captive audience.”

He nodded and flipped open his briefcase. “Right… ummmm… Majesty…”

I could’ve choked. “Lieutenant is bad enough. Are you trying to piss me off?”

He pulled his lips over his teeth and whimpered… His terrified look wasn’t as confusing as the way Sookie gave my shoulders a squeeze.

“Go on.”

He cleared his throat and fidgeted. “Um…”

“Just fucking call me Eric. Don’t make it difficult. I didn’t kill you for being the messenger last time. Relax.”

He nodded, looking no more relaxed. “Errrr… uhhhh… Eric, there’s plenty to discuss. I imagine we could do that on the plane if you don’t want to delay your return.” How much could there be to discussing the death of a newborn fucking Vampire. I wasn’t fool enough to think she’d have had a will at all, let alone left anything to Hunter since she didn’t bother leaving him as much as message to remember.

“I doubt it’s that complicated. You do a lot of worrying. Go on.”

He nodded again, “Majesssss… Eric, there’s the matter of the private estate and accounts that have been left to Wybert and Siegbert Kuester…” Bully for them. It was probably all gifted as a tax shelter to Hadley from the Queen and left to them as an extension of her final conniption fit.

“You should discuss that with them privately. Is there anything you need me for?”

“Uhhhhh… ye… yessir… yes… The most pressing of matters would be the realignment of treaties and trusts for the Kingdom.” Lovely. Sophie-Ann was incapacitated by Hadley’s death. Why wouldn’t I love being Lieutenant? Fucking dream job.

“If that’s the most pressing, then what else is there?”

“It’s going to be a bit harrowing. I only brought the emergent items with me. I suppose you should decide if you’ll be appointing a new Sheriff…”

“I’ve already told you that Pam will regulate Area 5 in my absence.”

He nodded. “In that case, do you plan to rule from Shreveport?”

“I thought we established that we’d tend to the state as bookends.” Sookie squeezed my shoulders again. I was starting to feel like I was missing something.

“Eric… you… you’re the only bookend.”

“I beg your pardon.”

“I’m… I’m sorry. Miss Stackhouse, when we arrived. She said you’d been notified.”

“We have…”

Sookie interrupted me. “Eric, we didn’t get the whole story. I don’t think it’s Jake’s fault either.”

“What. Did. He. Leave. Out?”

She whimpered too… what the fuck. “Hadley… Hadley didn’t just kill herself.”

I was afraid of the answer. So help me. I didn’t want to ask… I decided that I definitely WAS NOT going to ask when Cataliades opened his mouth…

I felt like bracing myself like Alcide had when Sookie teased him.

Cataliades took a deep breath, no happier to say it than I was to hear it. “Majesty, as per her punishment, Hadley was confined to the Queen’s chambers. The room’s door was sealed electronically so that she couldn’t leave while Andre and the Queen rested.”

“Tell me it’s a joke NOW and no one gets killed. Pam! Tell me this is just the best fucking prank you’ve ever orchestrated!”

Pam couldn’t look at me. She shook her head and stared at the floor. “I wish it was.”

“FINE! I’ll play. How did Hadley, the most inept Vampire to ever stain the fucking planet, manage to end her fucking maker?”

Everyone traded loaded glances back and forth until I was tempted to go for the Berts’ weapons.

As far as I could tell, Cataliades was the only one who knew exactly what happened.

“Majesty, Andre and Sophie-Ann were resting and… Hadley, Hadley… it seems… she…she…”

“She… she… she… Spit it the fuck out!”

“She lit their bed on fire… and yanked down the light blocking curtains.”

*Thanks for reading!*

Last Chapter   Story Home   The End

91 thoughts on “Chapter 27: Curtains

  1. WOW! Solid ending! How you managed so many plot twists in so few words boggles my mind.
    This explains the reference to Eric being king from the BTD outtake, maybe?

    I loved Hunter’s reaction and Eric’s response. Nice job making sure all the cast got a curtain call by appearing in the last chapter. Poor Mr. C has had a rough time in this reality.

    I rarely find endings satisfying, but this was perfectly executed. Extraordinary talent you have there, my friend.

  2. That is just mean!!!! How could you end it there? Uh best story EVER. Well as long a you don’t include all your other stories in the running becuase then it would just be a massive tie.

  3. I loved the constaint twsts and turns. Amazing job on getting to the deaths of Sophie and Andre You’re writting and the way you have to weave a story.it’s the best I’ve read. Ilove all you’re storys and look foward to reading and rereading all! thank you for sharing your amazing talent.

  4. I agree with Lissa’s comment above and I am boggled by your ability to create and keep straight all the different twists and turns. Someone once compared this and BTD with an M.C. Esher stairway, which is a true statement in my opinion. Now what though? Another spin off? I don’t suppose the one where Sookie bonded to Bill and eloped to Labrador could be salvaged, but maybe I missed something.

    Although…. you do have a few open stories like Dead Tired, which I absolutely love it’s my favourite fanfic of all time. And I am also looking forward to more It can’t be that one is trucking along, and Life and death only got two chapters in before you got side tracked.

    Keep up the good work : )

    Suzbc

  5. OMG he got the state whether he wanted it or not…. yes it was a good way to end ,but with all his aquisitions i guess that leaves it open to a new story with all kinds of adventures… Hunter was so sweet in him saying that he did not want to go back to Remy but stay with Eric… he is his CHILD now whether ERIC likes it or not…… i will miss this story and the skips. until your next NEW story best regards Kristie

  6. I absolutely adore the entire universe you have created starting with BTD and moving through this. I read a great deal of fanfic and there is NOTHING out there that is remotely similar. You should be applauded for both the creativity and the flawless execution of your work. I look forward to more from you!

  7. *thud*

    Oh Hadley, you giant twat…. That’s just. Wow. Just wow.

    Quite the bang to end the story on, I’m super glad you’ve got a sequel in the works, and I like the site redesign 🙂

  8. Fantastic ending! I get Sophie-Anne being so stupid but it was spelled out during the phone call that Andre overheard that this exact thing could happen. Poor Andre, I’ll miss his sparkling personality. ;(

  9. Either that was the best most perfect way you could possibly end this, or the cruelest cliffhanger ever. At the moment, I’m not sure which it is. Still, I think this story has been brilliant, and am looking forward to reading more from the BTD-verse. The only problem is that now you’ve left me wanting to know what happens next here. Does Eric cut his assets and run? Unlikely in my opinion. What kind of king does he make? What additions does he make to his retinue? Will we have these answers. But regarding the story itself, extraordinarily done, as usual. The only fanfiction author I never have criticism for. Kudos.

  10. I’m so glad you have a sequel planned, otherwise that would be the meanest cliff-hanger ever!

    great updates!!!

  11. You’re a dirty whore and I hate you! But on the other hand I’m in awe of your creativity and bow to your magnificence.

    I had a feeling it was the Queen who died. I don’t think the Berts would’ve woken up midday just from her anguish of Hadley dying. How stupid are Sophie-Anne and Andre for resting with her when they KNOW she doesn’t die. It was suicide by stroppy cunt.

    Eric will be a fantastic King if he owns it. I know you’re doing a BTD sequel but I hope your doing one for this too. Are the BTD or Meanwhile cast going to run into the DTR gang too?

  12. Wow.. you are the greatest writer ever!!! The way you weave your story with twists and turns. Just absolutely AMAZING!!!

  13. I feel like maybe the world is a sadder place with no more Meanwhile. It was my second story of yours I every read and loved! Although I have loved all of them. It is true you create a world one can easily fall into. They are so real you forget they aren’t. Please keep writing. We love you. I hope since this is finished you can write a little more life and death. I am know totally addicted to that and Alicide.

  14. Talk about a twist. They started the day worrying that the Queen was trying to kill Eric so she could have Sookie and end it learning Hadley killed her and Andre. What a flipping mess! I bet the Queen wished she had just ended Hadley when she was burning. And now they are left with a state that they didn’t even want. I really wish you hadn’t left it there, because I am really curious where this would end up. I’m hoping when you continue BTD we get some more glimpses of this version because clearly there is more to their story. Also if it is not to much to ask can I beg for an AIW update. I love that story!

  15. wow. Great “ending”…but I want more. I am sad tonight that this is over-but the trip you took us on was amazing.

  16. You didn’t just do that! Wow! What an ending! Fade to black or will there be a sequel that will segue with BTD? Just….wow!….
    Pat

  17. Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

    MORE!!
    Must have more!!!!
    This has been such an awsome ride but
    It can’t end there.
    Sequel?????
    Please? Pretty Please? Pretty Please with sugar and ASkars on top!!!!

  18. That was amazing, I so didn’t expect that. I am so sad this is the last chapter, I love love love this story, please write a sequel to Meanwhile. You can’t just leave it there, there is so many great characters in this story and so many things that can happen now that Eric is king. PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE WITH CHERRIES ON TOP!!!!!!!!

  19. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! how could you do that to us….thats just being mean!! you know i love your work and this chapter was great, but in this moment you are not my favorite person. UGH! please tell me that Meanwhile gets its own sequel and i’ll stop flippin my shit?!?!

    p.s. love the new look 🙂

  20. Well I kinda figured that Sophie-Anne and Andre had to be dead also for the Berts to have that kind of reaction. The ending felt really abrupt. which is not really your style. I would have thought that you would have said something like they got on the plane for New Orleans. Indicating that Eric took up the crown. He need to in order to keep Sookie,Jason,and Hunter safe. I hope a sequle is in the works for this at some time. I love you and your beautiful mind.

  21. love it! But now I want more! Sequel perhaps?

    And I spent the first quarter of the chapter terrified that they were trying to kill Eric and take Sookie and Hunter. So I’m very glad that didn’t happen!

    As always, it’s a wonderful story! You always write the best stories…

  22. oh hell…..lmfao…..I…..CAN’T……WAIT…..FOR…..THE…..SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN IT, YOU ROCK! I SWEAR I AM GOING TO BE ON EDGE UNTIL YOU POST IT….awesome finale to a great story…….wow, all thats left are the ‘Bert’ Uncles….sad but I can’t wait to see how they adjust to their new ‘family’, not to mention all the crazy ‘what if’s’ in the reign of King Eric……

  23. Wow, that was one hell of a chapter, so many plot twists, just amazing. Sensational story, hope you can write a sequel, I want to know what happens now Eric is King. You are one very talented author – keep writing, I’ll never get tired of reading your stories!!!!

  24. “Either that was the best most perfect way you could possibly end this, or the cruelest cliffhanger ever. At the moment, I’m not sure which it is”
    I have to agree with this statement. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. Have loved BTD and Meanwhile. Soooo looking forward to the floolow up story of BTD.
    As usual, YOU ROCK!!!!

  25. No no no no no! I was watching the slider bar go lower and lower and things still not making sense. So very well done indeed! I have to agree with the others, what happens now!? I’m hoping the sequel to Bored to Death will allow for some skips into the Meanwhile universe…

  26. Oh my god your writing skills are just perfection but please please please please please do a sequel for this story, I love it so much.

  27. Perfect! Loved the wy you wrapped this up but left me wanting oh soooooo much more. Thanks it was a brilliant story.

  28. I seriously can’t decide if the ending was just right or way too soon. I have loved this story ever since you first starting writing it during the BTD fic. I hope there is more to this fic, maybe an epilogue covering the next few years etc or better still a sequel. I just don’t want to let them go.
    Aerynzu xx

  29. Simply amazing. You have such an incredible way with words; the plots, twists and turns are fantastic. Truly love your work!

  30. ok, alright, eric is king and everyone is safe from insane hadley and her insane maker….so, what’s next? please tell me there’s a sequel in the works…pleasepleaseplease! first dead tired is taken off before i get to finish reading now meanwhile is over..has the world gone MAD? if you promise to update ‘it can’t be’ i think i can let this heartbreak go….it has been a fun ride so i won’t be too sad, but it’s hard not to fall in love with the characters you molded into the ones we all fell in love with. good story!

  31. Well, first a reminder – You. Are, Awesome.
    Second, thank you very much for writing and sharing your stories. It’s hard to believe that they are, somehow, getting better and better.
    Finally, we keep getting teased with Hunter. You are the only one I found that pays so much attention to him and develops him properly, but still…. I’ d really like to see him as a grown man, in one your worlds. That would be amazing….

  32. Well – knew it was Sophie. That does tie up several problems for Eric – but it creates a whole host more. Like so many others – I’m wondering if you are already planning a sequel. Thank you for this fun little spin off. You do marvelous work.

  33. Sorry to see it ending but I hope we get to see this Sookie and King Eric make guest appearances in the BTD sequel. Love that Ema and Hunter hit it off and I like the idea of her cover story being his ‘nanny’ since it looks like Pam’s dream of a retail store might not happen. Great final chapter for a great story… who knows… maybe you’ll be inspired to add some bonus chapters.

  34. LOL… King Eric… I really didn’t expect that ending! *grin* Brilliant.
    Though I do hope, that there’ll be a sequel… *fingerscrossed*

  35. WOW. That was a great chapter! It seemed to end at a bit of a cliffhanger…any plans for a sequel? I am glad that Sophie Ann and Andre were killed, though, and that Hadley would no longer be a problem! I guess that is why the Berts were so disoriented…their maker was killed. It seems like Sophie Ann and Andre would have been smart enough to consider the possibility that Hadley would be a threat to them while they slept, seeing as she did not have to rest, but I guess they felt confident that she wouldn’t ever actually go through with it? I really hope you do a sequel at some point, as I always really enjoyed this story! Thanks!!!!!

  36. Bloody brilliant, as usual!! LMAO that’ll teach people not to listen to the Viking!! And Hadley, the total twat, calls Jake Purifoy to whine her last words rather than consider her own son. Eric is an overnight daddy and King–that oughta be good for a hissy fit or two of his own…and here he complained that Alcide was teaching Sookie to curse like a sailor. Man, I can’t believe it’s over! I swear if there isn’t a sequel, there’s gonna be rioting round the globe! I know I’m in withdrawal already. You are hands down one of the grand masters of FF. Now if only Alan Ball would start reading this stuff…

  37. Lmfao!! Oh my god. I can’t believe that!! First rate ending. Seriously unbelievable, how could they be so idiotic having her rest with them knowing how effed up Hadley was?! Awesome. Poor Eric, but I can’t stop laughing it’s so funny his reaction and their stupidity. No wonder mr. C’s behavior. I love Eric and little hunter together.

    I’m sad it’s over but I know there is more to come. Can’t wait.

  38. Everything has been said in the other comments. This was a flawless ending to a flawless story.

    You are the queen of fanfiction. There are very few writers in the same league as you, and only one I can think of who matches you in terms of wit, dept and sheer talent.

    I bow to you.

  39. What an amazing fertile mind you have. I love your Vampire AU’s (I don’t read AH – no vampires) I just can’t get enough of them. I am looking forward to more of your stories. Don’t ever leave us, you are just too good. Thank you and Regards. Trudy

  40. Oh hells bells. What a way to end the story. I did not see that coming at all. Brilliant, really. I too would love a sequel at some point. Hope you will consider it. Great job.

  41. So are you just teasing us about this being the end? Because that was not an ending it was a cliffhanger, an epic cliffy

  42. There were quite a few comments above that I COMPLETELY agreed with. They were both complimentary and derogatory at the same time  I just want to stomp my foot and say NONONONONONONO!!! But I’m much too adult to do anything like that. DAMMIT WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME? See that’s the much more adult way to approach it.  Amazing story even if I’m bitter about the giant cliffhanger of an ending, even if a murder-suicide couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of people.

    • Bravo! Looking forward to your next story. You haven’t written one yet that I didn’t enjoy.
      Thank you for sharing your talent.

  43. I just love the way you write Sookie and Eric. I can see the appeal in your down to earth, full of sass and personality Sookies. CH’s Sookie has become cold and she doesn’t have much personality these days. Please don’t let this be the end?! It would be so neat to see the stories of other “thems”, but while I wS satisfied with the Bored To Death ending, this one leaves me really wanting more. I would much rather see this sequel, than the BTD one, as you wrapped it up in a way that didn’t leave me wanting more. This one has us screaming for more.

  44. I’ll really miss this story and would have liked a little more at the end to get Eric’s and everyone’s reactions to the news but i guess that could just go on and on. Overall a very good chapter and a VERY good story!!

  45. I’ve finished my second reading of this story, after re-rereading BTD. I loved it just as much as the first time. It occurred to me that such a significant event might trigger a “crossover”. I’m love Death’s Door, too.

  46. Hi there,

    I’ve just discovered the SVM fandom, and I followed you here from FF.net. Although I think that your Eric and especially Sookie are very different that CH’s or TB’s, I have to say I like them better. You really are an excellent writer and I envy your abilities with dialogue. I have to say that your all-human versions are very good, and you may want to consider removing the SVM names and submit them to a romance publisher. I started as a fanfic writer, and I now have 17 published romance novels. I really encourage you to write some original stuff as well, you are very talented!

  47. Noooo!!!! Great ending but damn I want more. I so hope we get more of this Eric and Sookie. I tell you, the Queen of unexpected twists. I was completely panicked that there was a coup to end Eric…when all that was happening was a royal escort being sent. Looks like Eric got the state he didn’t want. Maybe he can find someone to pawn it off to.

    I still haven’t gotten my fix of Eric and Sookie.

    Will there be a sequel to this story?

  48. I just read BTD and Meanwhile again for the second time and this is still the meanest ending ever!! At least I didn’t have the shock value this time around, where I wanted to hope a plane to come yell at you or something. I found it somewhat amusing this go round, especially after all the other outtakes and the such since I read it the first time. And I still think you kick CH’s ass up one side and down the other. She may have started these characters (in the loosest sense in most cases) but you have taken them to a whole new level that is described as awesomeness in my book. I’ve said it a few times (like with every new outtake I think), but if you continued King Eric down the road, I’d be 100% on board!! If it’s written by you in general, and part of the Multiverse specifically, I’ll be reading it.

  49. Well i just finished Meanwhile again i love your multiverse….. i hope you continue with these guys as i stated the last time i would like to see how all this pans out… there is so much story line there,,,, i hope that one of the other worlds skips to their world soon, love to see there reaction … until the next Multiverse update you ROCK my best Kristie

  50. Just caught up on my reading and that was excellent ending to a great story!!! I am truly going to miss it

    But not for long, I have not tapped into the multiverse stories yet, yippee!!!

    You are very talented and you should consider writing your own book.

  51. ::hangs head in shame:: I’m the ‘tard who JUST got around to reading this and was surprised at how many of my questions were answered about the other skips…

    Honestly, I’ve read all your other stuff so I kinda forgot I hadn’t read it… (go me!)

    To that end, all I have to say is ‘AWESOME as usual’

  52. OH SHIT! Hadley killed them?!?! WOW!
    HOW DARE YOU LEAVE US LIKE THIS! I’M CRYING! YES CRYING CAUSE YOU ENDED THE STORY LIKE THAT! YOU ARE HORRIBLE!
    LOL just kidding! you are awesome. Thanks for such entertaining stories 🙂

  53. You are awesome! What more can I say, I love every story you put out there for us to read and when they end I can’t wait to read the next. You hit it out of the park everytime. I started with Saints and Sinners then BTD which I hope you will eventually do a sequel for and moved on to Meanwhile and I’m always hooked from beginning to end!

  54. I had a foreboding when I saw the crown on the banner of this chapter. I think most of us knew it was always going to happen. Eric is meant to be king and I’m sure he will be a great one. Like everyone else I did not want the story to end because it was absolutely delicious and I want to know what happens with the new family he has aquired. (I think Eric has just become a father which is too cute.) Hopefully we will find out eventually because I don’t think your fans are going anywhere.

    Lucky for me I still have a few stories left to read. Thank you for one of the best stories I have read. Although I have loved every story of yours that I have read so far. You are a brilliant author. Please keep writing for all of us who love you.

  55. Out of all the Multi Universe fics this is the one I want a sequel to the most. I feel like there is so much more to be said and plots to finish playing. Please. Write more. 🙂

  56. I just reread all the multiple verse and this one is still my favorite….don’t get me wrong I LOVE them all but I love this one most……this is my not so subtle hint for you to open this one back up and let the charcters have more adventures!

  57. Well, just finished my re-read of the second multi-verse story.

    I have to say that I think this was my favorite ending so far in the multiverse. I loved the mystery when Ema wrote Hadley curtains sick and the tie in to the end of this story was WONDERFUL.

  58. This is the first time in a long time that I’m re-reading this verse and while I can understand why this is a logical starting point I always wanted more. I used to think it was because I wanted more of Eric & Hunter together, but after reading it this time, I feel as though there is a lot more of this story to tell. Of course I would love more E/H, but this Eric still seems slightly unfinished in his character arc, almost like he has figured out who he is and he is starting to realize where he will most likely wind up, but he is no where near comfortable with where he’s going let alone actually to have gotten there. Primary examples for me would be how he views his relationships with Sookie and Hunter. He still doesn’t seem to have accepted that he is Hunter’s Dad for all intents and purposes and while he has admitted to loving Sookie and has stated that their bond is much deeper and more meaningful than any marriage and he is firm in his plans to turn her and is vert clear about the fact that he sees his world as Him, Sookie & Pam and then there is everyone else and he has zero desire to exist without Sookie with him every night. However, he is still balking about his off-hand marriage remark to Sookie and worried about letting Sookie refuse his request for Blood in front of other vamps, but has no problem letting her take the lead with most other things. He could care less that other Vamps see Hunter sitting on his lap and basically cuddling into Eric to nap, but he still sees himself as protection and that’s it. After writing this now I’m wondering if this is partly because this is only the 2nd M-Verse to be written and you hadn’t come to terms with your characters yet… Regardless, I’m starting a campaign to get more ‘Meanwhile’, maybe a jump ahead in time so we can glimpse an older Hunter that is being raised by a vampire king… PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!?!?!?!?! I would love more Meanwhile.

    • When I say ‘logical starting point’ up top I meant ‘logical stopping point’. Also, I forgot to say Mahalo Nui Loa for this verse and the whole multi-verse. If only we were all lucky enough to be raised by a BAMFV that encouraged us to stay up all night, travel and memorize George Carlin so that you know when NOT to use it (yeah right, that’s why a kid would want to memorize the 7 deadly words.

  59. Have to share a funny story…..
    So, just finished my third re-read of this ‘verse. I was just about to reiterate how much I loved the ending and how I thought it had to be one of the best ever endings for a fanfic….
    then I happened to see my comments from my 2nd re-read and found that I said pretty much the same thing.
    ROFL….I guess I”m not that original in my comments. 🙂

  60. OMG! You ended it on a cliffie! You evil evil woman;) I absolutely loved your story and hope you have written a sequel! I just happened upon this and without reading your other stories first, I dove right into this one and couldn’t stop until I was done. I’m going to read your other stories now. Thanks so much. Oh and did I mention how much I love how you write Eric? *sigh*

  61. Blindly, Hadley managed to achieve something at last? And in the process pissing off Eric to the max? WTG Hadley!!! You gotta admire daft persistence…

    • bah my original reply didn’t attach to your response so I’m re writing it. ‘lol I actually whimpered because there wasn’t more.” and adding to that: while whimpering for more I’m not sure where else to take that as its not as though I want to watch Eric be miserable as King. But he was surrounded by awesome family and friends. Lots of trusted people so it wouldn’t be as bad as it could have been..

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