I’ll Be There
By the time the mall closed at midnight, Sookie, Klaasje and I had made two trips to the truck to free our hands for more shopping.
Even though we were looking forward to giving Olivia her lessons, Sookie and I opted to wait until another night to give them to her. We weren’t interested in bombarding the girl with gifts… not when we had news. The only gifts we were planning to give were the simple matching alexandrite pendants I bought while Sookie cleaned up the mess I made looking for my wallet. As tempted as we were to call Mr. Desai, Sookie pointed out ‘that kind of thing’ is Jason’s territory. The clerk and Klaasje agreed. Annoying as it was to be told something wasn’t my place, especially when it came to Pam, seeing that Sookie was actually willing to observe the boundary helped make the point.
Between the mall and the hotel, Sookie texted her father to check in, and left a message for Jude… As soon as I stopped the truck at The Palace’s curb, Sookie hopped out and gave the valets instructions to have a bellhop collect our ‘pillaged booty’ and bring it all to her room.
She stopped at her office and collected her messages and received a report from the concierge on duty…
Klaasje and I watched her work, giving instructions and making notes.
While Sookie explained to the concierge that the guests in room 1209 were VIPs and should be ‘gratuitously comped and ass-kissed until they ask to be left alone’, Klaasje shook her head…
“Pity she’s so successful. Asking her to be a steward would be an insult, but she’s so efficient.”
I snorted, “She’d make an excellent Lord though.”
I didn’t need to see how surprised Klaasje was to know I’d suddenly developed a disorder of some kind.
Klaasje joked, “I doubt she’d be very efficient once Gawain met her, but we wouldn’t need to guess about where he’s hanging his hat from night to night.”
Not funny… It was too true to be funny. Gawain would pursue Sookie in high-speed chase fashion…
Changing the subject. “I might be curious enough about the Haunted Hotel to stay until Halloween…” Perhaps it wasn’t as much of a change of subject as it was a segue. “Extending my visit should relieve some pressure for Pam. I don’t want her to assume I’m demanding time with her immediately when I know she’s making adjustments.”
Klaasje nodded. “And Sookie seems more than happy to entertain you.”
At least I’d tried to change the subject.
“You’re welcome to stay… Brandon seems willing to entertain you.”
“If you don’t mind me saying…” I had a feeling I was going to mind. “You and Sookie are ‘cute’ together.”
Confirmed. I did mind.
“I’m sure the clerk doesn’t see many scenes like the one Sookie caused.”
She shrugged. “You’ve been smiling more frequently than usual… You have fun with her. God knows that isn’t typical. We can’t be rid of donors quickly enough… Is it a cultural difference? Is it just that I’m used to Northern Europeans?”
In her 800 years, the furthest south she’d ever been was where she was born near Prague. Her Maker didn’t allow her to travel, so she’d been in Kiel for most of her existence. She actually had a legitimate reason to ask.
“If Americans were as entertaining as the Stackhouses, I would have stayed in Louisiana. Generally speaking, the difference between locations is language.”
Sookie sat at her desk to make a call, and whispered, “Y’all don’t have to wait for me,” while the phone rang.
Watching her work was more interesting than sitting in an empty hotel room… Instead of leaving, we joined her and sat across from her desk.
The call was answered, “Compton.”
“Mr. Compton, this is Sookie Stackhouse returning your call to Sheriff Ravenscroft. She’s otherwise engaged for the evening.”
He drawled, “I doubt you’ll be of any assistance on the matter. What is your position with the Sheriff?”
“I’m her public affairs liaison and business partner here at The Palace.”
“I’ve been told to contact the Sheriff about security measures. We’ve had an unfortunate attack in our own hotel, The Danube.”
“An attack? A Vampire versus Human attack?”
“During the day. The Vampire was ended while he was resting.”
“Good God. Does anyone know who the assailant was?”
“Yes. She’s in custody, but Sheriff Roth isn’t pleased with the negative press. Our concern is preventing similar attacks in the future.”
Sookie sighed, “Of course it is… We’ve been quite fortunate to not have anything of the like occur here at The Palace…”
“We’ve heard. One of our guests stayed at the Grand Suites in Dallas and suggested we contact them for security suggestions. When I spoke to Stan Davis earlier, he mentioned The Palace had served as the model for their security.”
Sookie confirmed, “Sheriff Davis and his second stayed with us months ago. You’re more than welcome to visit Shreveport for a walkthrough, sir.”
“How kind of you…”
“Who shall I make the reservation for, Mr. Compton?”
“William Compton. I’ll be there just before dawn.”
William Compton… it had been years… not enough of them, but taunting that useless bottom-feeder would easily fill my time when Sookie was otherwise engaged.
“The concierge will be expecting you, Mr. Compton…”
“I’ll need a lightproof room.”
“Yes sir, I assumed as much.”
“Oh? Have you heard of me?”
Bill Compton, legend in his own mind.
Sookie bit her lip to keep from laughing, so I’m sure Compton assumed Sookie was the one who snorted at his pomposity.
Sookie faked a cough to cover my noise and offered, “No sir. Your accent isn’t common in contemporaries.”
“Oh.” I could practically hear his disappointment.
“Be sure to have your references on hand for Sheriff Ravenscroft.”
“References? I’m a Deputy Sheriff.”
“Visiting Vampires are required to travel with documentation. Drive carefully, Mr. Compton.”
Sookie rolled her eyes and switched to a different extension to dial again.
While it rang this time, she offered, “I have heard of the douche bag. Roth is shitting the bed in Baton Rouge big-time. Long Tooth has nearly doubled, Hotshot got fresh blood from a small group of Cougars, and since I’ve been here, Pam’s taken no less than twenty Vampire transfers from Area 2. LeClerq hates you for leaving and taking ‘your little friend’ with you.”
I snorted, “If I gave a fuck, my feelings would be hurt,” just before Sookie’s call was answered.
“Sheriff Roth, Sookie Stackhouse, Public Relations Liaison for Sheriff Ravenscroft. This is a courtesy call to inform you I’ve just made arrangements with your Deputy Sheriff in regards to his intent to visit Area 5 for the expressed purpose of improving your standards of security at The Danube.”
“Very good. Tell the Sheriff I send my regards…”
“I’ll do that, but Mr. Compton isn’t making a political visit, as Sheriff Ravenscroft doesn’t waste her time with underlings. Mr. Compton’s education in security will be the chore of The Palace’s staff and management…”
Gwen teased, “Is Pamela too busy with her boy-toy to be bothered with a fellow Sheriff’s deputy?”
Sookie clawed her hand and mimed a hiss… Catty was accurate, but Sookie was suddenly feeling more violent than I would have expected.
“Sheriff Ravenscroft is ‘too busy’ tending to the matters of three large packs and a serfdom four times the size of yours, Sheriff Roth. Matters of hotel security are a bit beneath her, don’t you think?”
“That sounds like an excellent excuse to play instead of work. I imagine the little princess can shirk her responsibilities as long as she can hide behind her Daddy.”
Sookie rolled her eyes and huffed. “Mr. Compton will receive a walkthrough of the hotel and our security measures, but an audience with Sheriff Ravenscroft is unlikely for the immediate future. Thank you…” As soon as Sookie slammed the phone into the cradle, she snapped, “And if he fucks up, I’ll have his eyes gouged out and use the sockets as my personal toilet until they grow back just ‘cuz his Sheriff’s a cunt.” She punctuated her rant by blowing a raspberry at the phone.
I laughed, “I’ll keep a spoon in my pocket to gouge his eyes, but I’ll expect you to follow through with your part.”
“Maybe it’s because Jason doesn’t care about being called ‘pussy-whipped’ or a ‘boy-toy’, that it doesn’t really get to me… but that catty shit about nepotism irks the hell out of me. She does her fucking job.”
“Nepotism is how she became a Sheriff…”
Sookie shook her head. “Yeah, but not how she kept the job. Granted, she was having a hard time multi-tasking until we came onboard here, but the Area was sound. This is because Pam is half Gwen’s age and Gwen is the fifth Sheriff of Area 2 since you took Salome for Hamburg.”
“She probably wouldn’t mind having her own boy-toy either… Why doesn’t Jason mind?”
“Because he can feel most people are jealous and most Weres and Vampires don’t get it. Oh, and the whole ‘pink thing’… Jason actually loves pink. It’s a soothing color. Plus, pink makes Pam happy and he gets hit both ways. So there ya go.”
“That bedroom is not soothing.”
She shook her head. “I’m on your side. Every time I’ve spent more than a couple of minutes in that room, I’ve dreamt I died… smothered in cotton candy, drowned in pink lemonade, mowed down by a pink Cadillac, attacked by flamingos, choked on bubblegum, beaten to death by the singer that goes by ‘Pink’…”
She stopped when I started laughing. “Stop going into the room then.”
She nodded and took a couple of envelopes from her desk and two bags from behind it… Olivia’s gi and three bottles of vintage Mead meant for me.
“I know, right. Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable sometimes… Notice the boathouse is a pink-free zone…” She stood and walked towards the door, “I guess we can wrap presents while we wait for them to get back. I can’t imagine Olivia has much steam left at this hour.”
Klaasje looked surprised and shook her head. I knew why, but it was still amusing… I hadn’t mentioned that Pam wasn’t at the hotel, but Sookie already knew that.
Without being asked, Sookie giggled, “Their apartment’s empty, so I asked Brandon. They left right after we did and haven’t been back since.”
Klaasje breathed, “Incredible.”
Sookie grinned, “Not around here, it isn’t.”
When we reached Sookie’s room, there was a bellhop waiting in the hallway with three luggage gondolas.
No sooner than the bellhop had been excused, Sookie dumped a bag full of items onto the sofa and began removing her top…
The bag was for her shed clothing, so it wouldn’t ‘contaminate’ everything in her closet… She was ‘washing away the mall’. If the combination of scents was bothering her, she knew it would annoy her company…
As she stepped into the tub and started the water, she mumbled about calling the mall’s manager to have him prohibit perfume sniping.
Klaasje was clearly amused as she began refolding the bagged items and stacking them according to lesson.
Sookie had only been in the bathroom for a couple of minutes when Brandon arrived.
He raised an eyebrow at the mass of gifts. “Damn dude. That’s gonna look like you’re trying too hard.”
“I actually wasn’t trying at all, and not all of it is mine.”
His eyes bulged. “Sookie doesn’t spree-shop… Sookie, you don’t spree-shop!”
She laughed, “I did tonight. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a mall… I could’ve used Eric’s help when I was shopping for Mini. We had a theme, so we ran with it.”
He shook his head and mumbled, “But Sookie doesn’t spree-shop.”
Sookie emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel and smiling at her brother. “Don’t worry. I’m not having a nervous breakdown. We were a bit flummoxed about what to get a little girl who previously had nothing and was adopted by spree-shoppers… Does it make you feel better to know several of those bags are full of stuff I bought to prevent future trips to the mall in the immediate future?”
Underthings, gym clothes, a couple of books, a pair of sunglasses, several pairs of jeans…
Klaasje substantiated, “They are. She and Eric both bought several items. ‘Since I’m already here’ was said several times… Oh, and the Build-A-Bear bags are mine, but they’re for the children’s hospital.”
He suddenly seemed less worried. “Alright… Did you get anything for me, Sook?”
Sookie nodded. “Of course I did. There were two bags full of dress socks, silk boxers and dress shirts… You shouldn’t need to go to Macy’s for another month and by then, you’ll be Christmas shopping.”
“Sweet! Wait… there were two bags?”
Sookie giggled, “The stuff is still in there, but there was a mysterious calamity with the bags so everything got mixed up.”
While he began rifling through bags to find his things, Sookie dressed…
She didn’t bother closing the door to the bedroom, but I was the only one sitting in a position to see her… sheer panties and bra… skin tight jeans… baggy flannel shirt… her shoes didn’t look much different from the ballet slippers I’d bought for Olivia…
It was as though I was watching my plans for later in reverse.
For the next hour, Sookie and Klaasje wrapped gifts… I’d made the mistake of asking if Sookie’s handwriting was Sanskrit, so Klaasje suggested I write the ‘How To Be A Brat Elegantly’ lessons on the stationary we’d unanimously chosen. White parchment embossed along the margin with roses. Even though Sookie’s penmanship was hardly legible, I was warned to keep my writing current enough to avoid Vampire traps. I snorted, but eventually, Brandon asked why ‘dessert’ looked like ‘deffert’. Sookie raised an eyebrow and chose to taunt me silently for slipping into antiquated typography.
Even though Sookie and Klaasje talked as though they’d been long-time friends, I had to assume Sookie explained the Tucker Archer/Shawn Ingram information silently since he didn’t ask.
I was actually getting used to being among telepaths, Faeries… Who knew?
Sookie had taken a break from wrapping to eat a proper meal with her brother and it was nearly two o’clock when the three of us became aware Pam, Jason and Olivia had returned to the hotel.
I could easily confirm Pam’s mood, but Brandon offered that Pam and Jason were ‘high’ and Olivia was dreaming about the movie Annie… specifically returning to her group home with gifts for her friends.
Sookie and I agreed that could be easily arranged and the four of us discussed ways to fulfill Olivia’s dream until we’d given Pam and Jason time to settle in.
When we reached the apartment, jewelry boxes in hand, Pam and Jason were excusing the bellhop… dopey grins and five gondolas.
Pam hugged Sookie and cooed about her new car having marvelous cargo capacity.
Sookie giggled, “So does Alcide’s truck. We borrowed it for our trip to the mall.”
Pam looked back and forth between Sookie and me a few times before asking, “You? The fun you were having was shopping?”
I nodded. “Perhaps because it was more of a search mission than a gratuitous display of greed… Yes, I enjoyed shopping. Klaasje was lost in Build-A-Bear for a while, so we sent mall security looking for her.”
Klaasje snickered, “They think they’re funny. They sent security looking for a ‘little red-head’ who’d been missing for nearly an hour. They thought they were looking for a child… I helped search until I heard them laughing.”
Sookie offered, “She went a little overboard buying for the children’s hospital. On that note, Elliot will be performing the role of Santa’s Elf this year for two hospitals.”
Jason chuckled, “Did you call in his marker?”
Sookie shrugged, “Nope. Kissed Klaasje. The longer he has a marker with us, the longer we have a Supe doctor on call. His aunt’s already proven she’s willing to write off care costs to repay his debt. Everybody wins.”
Pam snorted, “Except Elliot. He could find a way to lose with a royal flush.”
Brandon offered, “Because he’s too busy flirting with the pretty dealers to play his hand. So… Is there anything y’all didn’t buy?”
Jason shook his head. “Naw… She ain’t never had nothin’. Poor thing didn’t ask for a damn thing neither. She felt too awkward. I had to feel her out at the toy store… She’ll get the hang of not wantin’ for anything soon enough though… What did y’all get?”
Sookie shoved my arm because I was the one holding the pendants…
“Sookie’s room is a fire hazard at the moment, but we didn’t want to overwhelm Olivia… These are just the beginning.”
Pam took the boxes from me, already excited because little velvet boxes were her favorite gift-wrap.
As soon as she opened the boxes, I could feel her confusion while she tried to think of a reason for alexandrite. “They’re beautiful, but…”
Sookie took a deep breath and blurted, “We leapt!”
Pam and Jason’s jaws dropped.
Jason stepped closer to Sookie and sampled her scent. “Y’all are sharing blood?”
Sookie snorted, “Puh- leeez… Like we could’ve known a nicked lip would start it?” Well worded, I thought. “It wasn’t bad though. Not like some of the shit y’all have dealt with. Weird since We were married. That Me is the child-bride of the King of Louisiana. Y’all were not exaggerating when you said it was like putting the facts of our lives in a blender.”
Jason turned towards the bar and waved for everyone to follow him. “Alright… shit… gimme some details then.”
Sookie offered, “I woke up from a nap with Erik, spelled with a K because he switched to Erik Nordmann to reinvent himself between Sheriff contracts. He went back to Northman, but kept the K because Weeeeeee got a ton of personalized schwag with the K spelling between Oooourrr wedding and the Revelation. Anyway, we discussed political stuff for the most part. Since this one is a European King and the other one is American, there wasn’t much overlap. The one thing for me to really watch for is that He’s King because Sophie-Anne found out about Me and decided She needed a telepath. Erik didn’t have a choice but to take over…”
I offered, “As for me, I rose with Sookie, a dog and a little boy joined us shortly thereafter. I spent the time I waited for Sookie to travel to Bon Temp from Shreveport discussing familial matters. Sookie and Erik met five years ago and married soon thereafter. Sookie and Jason were raised by Adele after Corbett and Michelle died in a flood. Brandon was raised by Julie and His adoptive father and They didn’t meet until after They graduated from high school. Hadley and Jason didn’t know about Their abilities until Brandon merged into the family. The most remarkable differences were Brandon’s love-child…”
Brandon growled at my wording while Sookie clarified, “A non-issue. Jules’s mother was Amy Christopher. The timing is off, so Brandon’s in the clear.”
Jason asked, “The dirty halo?”
Brandon nodded and offered a definition. “Good girl uniform, slutty core.”
I nodded. “Those are usually fun.”
Brandon and Jason chuckled, “Amen.”
Sookie giggled, “Down boys… another thing was Hadley’s situation. She was married and bonded to a young Vampire. He’d actually had issues procreating with his Human wife, so he banked his sperm. Poor bastard had to have a needle…”
I wasn’t the only one who wanted her to stop…
Brandon and Jason were already cringing when I reached over and muzzled her. “It’s safe to say He was willing to go to extremes to father children. Enough said…”
Jason and Brandon offered, “Amen,” in unison again.
“Hadley and Shawn have a little pusher named Leif and twins on the way. They were at the house visiting while I was there. He seemed like a genuinely attentive husband and father… Which is why Sookie was so surprised to walk in and see Tucker Archer sitting with a child on his lap…”
Pam gasped, “Hadley married Tucker Archer!?”
Sookie pulled away from my hand to quickly offer, “NEEDLEinhisBALLS,” and blow a raspberry at me before continuing, “That poor bastard has been watching HIS kids play all along, Pam. I feel horrible. Leland didn’t relocate and even used Shawn’s family to control him. It was harmless, but we didn’t know better because he didn’t want to risk being tossed out of the Area for risking exposure. He ended Leland after he set fire to his family’s house and let Shawn think they’d burned alive. Shawn went off the deep end. I’ve got a meeting with Jude in the morning to settle up Leland’s will and the Colonel dispatched a three-man team to watch things. Shawn knows he’s on probation, but he was already as excited as he could be when we left. Everything is taken care of on that end… funny bit though. His wife is Patty Ingram.”
Jason blurted, “NO SHIT!? She’s a sweetheart. Me and Daddy put together a pool for her a couple of years ago. You and Bran were still at school. She’s been friends with Mom since right after they moved in.”
Sookie nodded, “Yeah. Found that out. Is everything always so coincidentally connected?”
He nodded. “Usually. Was there anything else?”
“Ummmm… Well, Eric thought kids were the reason for the leap. I mean, as soon as he rose, Leif jumped into bed with him, and as soon as the other Erik was thinking with his big brain, he asked how this Eric is around kids because Leif didn’t need to be exposed to another asshole…”
Pam narrowed her eyes and asked, “Why? If his father isn’t a creep in that version…”
Sookie huffed, “Sookie and Hadley, keep in mind, she’s huge-preggors with twins… They were costume shopping with the kids. Sookie’s the Vampire King’s wife, so she was recognized. Hadley’s hormonal and we’ve seen how that can be… punches were thrown. Sookie’s nose was broken and Hadley had to be given meds to stop labor because she was shoved over. They were being called ‘fangbangers’ and ‘vamp-whores’ in front of little kids.”
Sookie Northman had extremely understated that incident.
“Jesus. Nevermind they were the ones attacking women with children.”
Sookie nodded. “I know, right? Anyway, the kid connection… So, last night we get Olivia and tonight Eric rises to Leif… then meets Jules… Olivia was mentioned and seeing as how that Pam and Jason are just really good friends, Hadley starts worrying about Olivia needing a place…”
Pam grinned and whispered, “Of course she does. Empath.”
“Right, so they want as much info about her as possible…”
Jason leaned against the counter and chuckled, “So let me guess, by the time y’all leapt home, Hadley was lining up an adoption.”
I shook my head. “By the time we leapt home, Sookie had spoken to Olivia’s parents…”
Pam immediately felt ill, so I continued, not wanting her to think she could lose Olivia.
“After looking for nonexistent newspaper articles online, Sookie did a phone number search for the couple who were presumed to be Olivia’s parents. That Tim and Lacie Burroughs still live in Fairlee with their daughter Denise Ashley. In their version of events, it was another local family who disappeared without a trace while they were at a family reunion in Indiana…”
Sookie added, “They knew about leaping. Called it the braid and said it was Faerie tales. They were raised Fae. They said Lacie’s mother was a ‘matchmaker’ because she could find perfect mates for people just by thinking about them.”
Jason made a dopey smile and offered, “So she got her thing from her grandma.”
I nodded and offered, “Denise Ashley Burroughs has sensitive skin and her first word was ‘pretty’. She inherited her father’s large feet and laugh, her mother’s straight hair and pout, and her true birthdate is June 20th…”
Pam sniffled, “Hence the alexandrite… Thank you.”
Sookie offered, “And her parents are the same height according to Tim, 5’10”, so it’s safe to say she’ll be tall for a girl… and she might have a surviving cousin. Trey is researching it. The uncle, Adam Love, was married to a Human, but it’s possible the widow has pictures or something. The adoption is legit, and since the family isn’t close enough to know she was in foster care all this time, I don’t think y’all need to worry about them wanting to take her.”
Jason shook his head and breathed, “Damn… all that… makes me wonder why we weren’t the ones to leap.”
Sookie shrugged, “Even if Olivia wasn’t the reason, and it was Shawn Ingram, we handled it…”
Perhaps we were the ones to leap to spare me the taunting ‘My’ wedding photo would have inspired.
Sookie continued, “Brandon’s not a daddy. Olivia has a few pieces of her past. Shawn Ingram reunited with his family. Y’all got a night off… Speaking of which… Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Thrash have checked in and the conference room is reserved for his pack business. And Deputy Sheriff of Area 2, William Compton will be checking in before dawn. Gwen had a murder at The Danube, so he’s coming for a walkthrough. Everything else is as boring as it always is.”
Pam shook her head and offered, “I still can’t believe y’all had fun shopping.”
“Did you just say ‘y’all’?”
Pam’s face puckered while the Stackhouses laughed. Brandon offered, “Yeah. After decades in Louisiana, she’s finally picking up the language. You should be proud of her.”
Pam rolled her eyes and offered, “Just in time to leave… Like Flemish.”
Her contract still had nearly seven years left.
“For something quieter, yes.”
I would have rather heard the news over the phone while I was alone… I wanted to dance a fucking gig…
Having Pam permanently in Cumbria…
“Your summer house?”
She shrugged, “We’re still in the spit-balling stage.”
I wanted to push… push… push… PUSH…
Answers. I needed them.
She knew how anxious and thrilled I was… but that only made her apprehensive for some reason…
Sookie offered, “That makes sense… I’m takin’ off before I get talked into helping y’all organize this mess. I’ll call you later, Jas.”
Sookie tugged my arm, but I was frozen… I heard Sookie, Brandon and Klaasje walking towards the door to leave, but it wasn’t until I had an incredible urge to look behind me that I moved.
When I turned, Brandon widened his eyes from where he was waiting at the door.
“C’mon dude. If that elevator leaves without us Sookie’s gonna make out with Klaasje again.”
That wasn’t enough bait.
Pam finally offered, “I’ll let you know when we talk through more details. I promise.”
I kissed Pam’s forehead. “I’m going to hold you to that. I’ll see you tomorrow night…”
Brandon urged, “Dude!”
Toying with him was almost enough of a distraction.
“Let them make out, Brandon. For that matter, go watch…” He was shaking his head and whining about incest when I turned back to Pam. “Is there a dress code for the Haunted Hotel? I think I’ll stay until Halloween.”
Pam’s eyes lit up. “Are you willing to wear a costume?”
“Providing there isn’t a Sesame Street theme, probably.”
Jason snorted, “Big Bird.”
“No formal dress code. We’re doing the Haunted Hotel as an open house for children, but the ballrooms are for the adults after ten.”
“I’m going to have to go shopping again.”
Brandon growled, “Fuck! The elevator’s moving…”
I rolled my eyes. “It’s not as though I’m likely to get lost between here and the eighth floor… Regardless, shouldn’t you be more subtle about your interest in Klaasje?”
“I am when she’s in the room.”
He was actually impressively cool when she was in company.
While we were on the elevator, Brandon growled, “Fuuuuuuuck me…”
“You’re not my type.”
“Sookie’s locked me out… she only does that when… Fuuuuuuuuck.”
I chuckled… He might have been locked out telepathically, but I could feel how wickedly amused Sookie was.
“Maybe not for you.”
He looked like I punched him. “You asshole!”
I shrugged just in time for the elevator to open…
And the first things to be seen when Brandon opened the door to the room were Klaasje and Sookie’s shirts on the floor.
Sookie and Klaasje’s legs were twisted together and they both had handfuls of hair… They were ‘wrestling’ to put on the show while Brandon’s imagination pushed him to the more X-rated conclusion.
I had to squeeze past him, but he whimpered again when I pulled my shirt off and walked towards the bed.
They stopped wrestling long enough for Sookie to joke, “Our cameraman for the evening?”
If any other Vampire touched Sookie the way Klaasje was, they would have been cauterizing nubs… but I was genuinely pleased to see Klaasje taking part in a joke.
“Can’t Brandon hold the camera? I was hoping for a more active role.”
Sookie giggled and grabbed my belt to pull me onto the bed while Brandon grumbled, “Not a cameraman.”
Sookie argued, “Well, I’m sure as hell not country enough to share with my brother,” as I joined them.
“Did you call room service for honey?”
She shook her head. “No. Abuelita.”
“I don’t like cinnamon.”
Klaasje offered, “I’ve never been fond of honey.”
“You don’t know what you’re missing.”
“I really enjoyed the cinnamon and chocolate earlier. You might like the combination.”
While we debated as though it was an actual concern, Brandon fumed from the commons area of the room.
Sookie pushed herself up, straddling one of my thighs and one of Klaasje’s. “There’s only one way to settle this. Rock Paper Scissors.” Sookie had her face pinched together, trying to keep from laughing at her brother.
I offered, “I could just pull rank.”
Brandon turned to leave mumbling, “Fuck this… I sleep on that bed… assholes…”
Sookie covered her mouth and crashed to my chest while she hissed, “He’s so pissed.” She leaned over to kiss Klaasje’s cheek and offer, “I’ma go put him out of his misery. Don’t break him. He’s my favorite twin.”
When she left the bed, she snatched my shirt from the floor and tossed it to me before grabbing her own and her purse. “C’mon Majesty. I’ve got a fridge full of milk and a gigantic honey jar waiting at the boathouse.”
That was all I needed to hear.
I scooped her up so quickly, she was still gasping when we reached the elevators.
She kicked the back of Brandon’s head and laughed, “You’re too easy to get, dingleberry. Go get some ginger.”
He narrowed his eyes and huffed, “You bitch. You’re not funny.”
I argued, “Yes she is… Besides, I’ve heard you and Jason have her test drive women for you. Didn’t she kiss Pam first too?”
As the elevator doors opened, Brandon pointed at Sookie and warned, “Payback’s a bitch.”
Alcide’s truck had mysteriously disappeared and been replaced with Sookie’s Viper. She giggled that she didn’t want to know if he’d been waiting for us to return in the hotel or if he’d installed a tracking device…
Since Sookie hadn’t heard back from her father after checking in, and there wasn’t any way to know if his ‘funeral feeling’ had passed, Sookie encouraged me to drive again…
I didn’t argue, but I reminded her of my ‘aggressive’ fees.
No sooner than we cleared The Palace’s awning, Sookie contorted, pulling her legs under herself and turning to face me… leaning over the console to chew my ear, reaching into my lap to rub my cock…
She gave me chills, laughing against my neck when I ignored a red light. At 3AM there wasn’t enough traffic on the road to be concerned with most lights.
She jokingly argued with me when I ignored a second, but the intersecting street was empty.
“I know what I’m doing. I’ve been driving for more than a century. I’ve stopped at blind intersections.”
I might have tried to behave if she hadn’t opened my jeans…
After a stop sign and another red light, my luck finally ran out.
As many lights as I’d ignored trying to get to the boathouse as quickly as possible, I couldn’t ignore the flashing red and blue lights of the squad-car that pulled onto Milam Street behind us.
As Sookie situated in her seat, she giggled, “Told ya so,” and I pulled the car to the curb near the golf course. No more traffic than there had been, I used the turn lane since there wasn’t a shoulder.
Frustrated as I was by the delay, nothing was going to bring my mood down… Pam was leaving Louisiana (most likely moving closer to me) and there was a milk-bath in my immediate future.
I even managed to chuckle that it was Sookie’s fault as I contorted my cock to close my pants.
The cop didn’t have any humor about him when he tapped on my window. “Kill the engine please, sir. License, insurance and registration… Blowing through a red light? In a hurry, are we?”
I held out my license for him and nodded. “I am. Would you mind writing my citation quickly so she can finish the hand job she was giving me?”
Sookie snorted and passed the registration from the glove box to me.
The officer was not amused. “Prostitution is illegal.”
I agreed, “And not worth the trouble. She isn’t a hooker.”
He looked at my ID and leaned over to address Sookie, “Miss, are you aware you’re with a Vampire?”
“Of course I am.”
“This car isn’t in the system as stolen, is it?”
Naturally… Sookie and I were Bonnie and Clyde.
Sookie answered, “No sir. I’m the owner…”
“If you’re the owner, why is the Vampire driving?”
Sookie giggled, “Because I couldn’t possibly drive if he was groping me. He’s much better at controlling himself.”
The cop turned to walk away and grumbled under his breath, “Fuckin’ exhibitionists… think they’re hilarious… normal people keep that shit to themselves…”
Sookie unfastened her seatbelt and leaned over the console to kiss me, and as soon as the cop caught on, he used his PA to announce, “Don’t make me have y’all wait with your hands on the hood. Simmer down.”
Sookie giggled, “Since we’re being forced to simmer down, would you like something to keep your mood up?”
“I think this might make you happier than a blow job.”
“If you’re wrong, you’ll owe me a blow job.”
She laughed, “Agreed… They aren’t thinking about moving to Cumbria…”
“Fuck! How is that supposed to improve my mood!?”
“Because Jason’s pushing for somewhere in your Kingdom, at least until Olivia’s grown.”
She nodded. “They talked about it for a while when she first rose, before Olivia woke up from her nap. They want her to have the normal kind of charmed life. Not this American playground bullshit.”
“My Kingdom?” I’d been more than happy thinking Pam would be in Tyson’s Kingdom.
She nodded, smiling ear to ear. “They have a lot of things to consider, but Jason is thinking about Eijsden. It’s the Dutch version of Bon Temps.”
“That is better than a blow job.”
She giggled, “You’re such a sap… Don’t worry though. I won’t tell anyone without giving you the chance to buy my silence.”
“Do you know what Pam was anxious about?”
“Slipping. She doesn’t want you to get your hopes up yet.”
“Considering her track record for asking for my help…”
She cut me off. “I’ll tell you right away.”
Along with so many other things, Sookie really was my ally. I would have been completely lost if I hadn’t had her help. My liaison, bridging the accidental gap between me and my child.
We both turned to look at the intersection when we heard squealing tires and a revved engine.
Sookie snorted, “And we got pulled over for running lights on an empty street.”
The chaos was distant, but someone was having a blast. Screaming and laughing…
“I was given good news. It wasn’t all bad.”
She jokingly pouted, “What about me? I already knew that and I’m still waiting for bathtime.”
Another annoying round of yowling and partying, more screeching tires and screaming breaks. The cop seemed oblivious to it.
I offered, “Take your jeans off. I’ll distract you.”
She smirked and licked her lips. “If the po-po is watching us, he’ll think you’re killing me.”
“It’s not like he’ll be able to hear you… Is there a new holiday I wasn’t told about?”
She shrugged. “Probably pumpkin bashing fucktards. Halloween draws out the creeps. They even got the pumpkins at the house last year.”
“This is what happens when people don’t beat their children.”
She nodded. “Gran says a good parent knows when to give a hug and when to give a whoopin, but since I’m a mind reader, I know she left the whoopins up to Grandpa and she had hug-duty.”
I offered, “At least someone gave them,” just in time for the cop to emerge from his patrol car.
Sookie and I watched him lumber towards us slowly enough to make me wonder if he suffered from stiff joints or if he was trying to seem authoritative.
As she settled to her seat and refastened her seatbelt, she giggled, “Watch out, John Wayne’s gonna set us straight.”
Even when she wasn’t actually reading my mind, it was as though she could.
The cop leaned over and glanced over his shoulder towards the bedlam that sounded closer and closer each time it flared up.
He offered our documents to me and grumbled, “I’m gonna call this a routine sobriety check. I got a feeling if I wrote a ticket, you’d have it thrown out of court, huh Your Majesty?”
“My lawyers are brilliant.”
“I bet… Think you two can behave until you’re home? You got a mile left between here and the address on her-”
When a pickup truck skidded around the corner, the officer stood up… The driver was already struggling to recover from the turn he’d taken, going no less than 50 miles per hour…
I had the thought that seeing the cop startled him… and watched a passenger reach for the steering wheel… blinded by sudden high beams… and then everything went black.
As I regained consciousness, I could hear a cell phone over the ringing in my ears, but there was something leaking onto my face, covering my eyes…
My seat had broken loose…
My legs were completely fucked, broken and pinned…
For that matter, I would have been in less pain if I’d been cleaved in half… the left side of my body was in agony…
Lifting my right arm to wipe my eyes was excruciating…
The car was on its side…
Through the shattered and gaping windshield, I could see the body of the cop laying on the grass between the pickup truck and where the Viper landed…
Then I realized what had been pouring over my face… blood.
Turning my head wasn’t easy…
She was dangling over me.
Strapped to her seat…
And there was a constant stream of blood trickling from her mouth.
Her heartbeat was so weak I hadn’t noticed it right away… Fuck!
One arm… all I fucking had was one fucking arm… one arm I could barely move…
I actually called Pam.
I had too many injuries to heal before Sookie bled out…
The only thing I could think to do was move my head so I could catch her blood instead of letting it go to waste, hoping it would heal me, even if just slightly, faster…
The one ray of hope… the one chance…
Footsteps… frantically running towards us…
The choked, breathless gasp, “My baby… not my baby girl…”
Corbett Stackhouse. He’d run a mile.
“Corbett! I’m pinned! I can’t get to her!”
He never slowed down, using the hood of the car to stop himself.
Barefoot, in nothing but sweatpants…
He choked, “You want me to use the cop’s radio to-”
“Reach in and unbuckle Sookie’s belt so I can heal her… then go call for help.”
“She’ll fall on you…”
“She’s dying, Corbett. Release her belt.”
He nodded and lunged through the gap in the windshield, slicing his arm to ribbons in the process.
“Here goes…” As soon as he found the release button, Sookie tumbled on top of me… face down.
Her neck was broken.
“Grab her arm. Pull her towards you. I need her to be face up.”
He nodded and pulled her arm… she was almost gone…
I bit into my wrist and put it to her mouth… hoping…
Corbett watched for a moment until I reminded him to call for help…
I didn’t have it in me to search for Pam… I was concentrating on Sookie.
If she didn’t respond soon, I’d be taking her to ground.
Corbett used the radio on the cop’s body…
“Milam and North Heame. Multiple vehicle accident. Injured cop…”
By the time he was finished explaining who he was and why he was using a police radio, I’d had to reopen the wound on my wrist…
I was losing hope, but I could already hear sirens…
The first vehicle to arrive sped over the curb and burned the lawn when it stopped.
The shriek of, “Nooooooooo!” and the sound of footsteps.
Corbett tried to calm her down, but she fought and struggled to make her way to the car…
What used to be a car.
Taking a hard swallow when she looked through the windshield…
Hands and knees in a nightgown…
Crawling in enough to pick safety glass out of Sookie’s hair and caress her face.
“Is she…?” It was all she could choke out.
“She still has a heartbeat, but I’m healing too…”
She scoffed and scraped her sides inching as close to me as she could.
Shoving her wrist towards me, demanding, “Feed… BITE. DO IT!”
If I hadn’t been so desperate to see some improvement in Sookie, I might have hesitated.
As it was, I barely warned her it was going to hurt.
I took more than I normally would… as much as Julie’s tiny body could spare…
Knowing how desperate she would have been…
Feeling a difference in my legs, my other arm…
In a perfect world, Corbett would have been able to reach me without making Julie move…
Hearing her sob while I opened my wrist for a third time and fed from Corbett made up for the improvements in my legs…
I couldn’t be bothered to notice the flavor of his blood… Sookie’s abdomen seized almost as soon as I bit her father.
Since I was injured and she wasn’t suckling, I wasn’t bleeding fast enough for her to drown in blood, but she was finally reacting, even if it was a reflex.
I released Corbett’s wrist and grabbed her arm to pull her over again.
Blood dribbled out of her mouth again, but it was mostly mine this time.
“Sookie, can you hear me?”
Corbett frowned when she didn’t move, but I could feel her reaction to my voice.
“She can hear me. She’s still fighting…” I’d come to expect nothing less.
Testing my legs again, they’d healed enough to move them, use them…
Painful as it was to contort my arm to release my seatbelt, I managed…
Pulling my knees up, keeping Sookie on me…
Pushing the dashboard in to get it out of my way…
Somehow managing to put my feet under myself slowly while holding Sookie…
Just strong enough, but stronger by the second…
Feeling sickened by the sensation of Sookie’s blood puddled under my feet.
There was too much of it… She’d almost lost it all.
The passenger door was crushed in and the window was too small for both of us, so pushing against the roof was the best option…
I was just stepping out of the wreckage when Pam arrived on foot.
Awed by the sight of Sookie’s car, pieces of the Viper scattered over the grounds of Lakeside Park… If the slope of the fairway hadn’t stopped the car from rolling, I doubt Sookie could have survived.
Leaving the wreck, knowing Sookie was at least stable for the time being, I dropped to the ground…
But I couldn’t bring myself to let go of her.
I forced myself up again, not wanting to deal with police or be tempted to torture the assholes in the truck who were just regaining consciousness… Over all the blood and spilled fuel, I could smell the stench of MD 20/20.
I left Pam on the scene to explain once they finally arrived… and had Julie and Corbett take Sookie and me to the boathouse.
Without stopping anywhere along the way, I took Sookie to the bathroom and laid her on the counter…
Stripping her ruined clothing and mine while the tub filled, making sure all of her bones were where they should be, teasing her for sleeping through all the excitement just because I could feel her trying to come back…
This was not the kind of bath I had in mind when we left the hotel.
I’d just started washing the blood and glass from Sookie’s hair when Julie knocked on the door, begging to help when there wasn’t anything to do…
Pam promised to bring syringes from the ambulance… since Sookie wasn’t swallowing yet, it guaranteed my blood would heal her.
The only thing I could think to have the woman do was choose fresh clothing for us, but she was eager to do that much.
Once we were clean, dry, and dressed, taking her to bed was miserable. I’d run out of things to do…
I was idle and I’d run out of things to say… That was only made worse by the fact that Sookie was actually frightened.
Not Pam’s anxiety.
Not my own concerns.
Sookie. Sookie was scared.
Whatever was happening to her, she had to be aware of what was happening, if not reading her parents’ minds…
My only guess was she was comatose… The Human brain was so fragile.
A broken neck, followed by how abrupt her fall was once Corbett released her seatbelt… She could be suffering a plethora of brain injuries…
My one brilliant idea… killing two birds with one stone…
Giving Julie something to do while trying to distract Sookie…
Explaining that Sookie was beginning to feel frightened, and I was sure she was hearing their fears, I took Sookie’s copy of The Crucibles from the coffee table…
Julie was sitting next to Sookie, reading, inspiring appropriate reactions from the story, when Brandon arrived.
He stormed through the house to Sookie’s room and crawled onto the bed to sit next to his sister. I couldn’t say I’d ever seen a man seem more childlike.
Julie stopped reading while Brandon stared at Sookie.
After a moment, Sookie’s mood became frightened again. Brandon cleared his throat and rasped, “She… she can’t get out of her head.”
I asked, “She does understand us though, yes? Even me?”
He nodded. “Clear as a bell. Hearing and telepathy are all she’s got.”
“I can feel her emotional reactions. Is she in any pain?”
After a moment, he shook his head. “She can’t feel anything.”
“Her neck was broken… Most of my bones were broken, so by the time I tried to heal her…”
“Donors and syringes are on the way. Jason called to tell me what happened while he was wrangling girls from the donor lounge… Klaasje’s sitting with Olivia.”
“Logistically, the empath probably shouldn’t be here.”
“Fuck logistics. If anything happens to her…”
“If she doesn’t improve before dawn, I’m bringing her over. She’ll be back to micromanaging and pranking in just a few nights.”
The grateful feeling I felt from Sookie was somehow comforting and shocking at the same time.
After a moment, Brandon snorted, “She says…” He paused to clear his throat again. “Silly bitch says she’d rather die with a deeper tan.”
Sookie Stackhouse, coma comedian.
I teased, “Bad news, Sookie. All tans fade. I was black.”
Not only could I feel how amused she was, but her throat moved and she hummed slightly.
Jason arrived with four donors. He paraded them to the door and left them waiting outside while he breezed through the house just as Brandon had.
He’d even left a cab waiting for them. I fed (gorged) while Brandon explained the details of what happened, and I was planning to bring Sookie over if she didn’t improve… but Sookie had been telepathically making jokes since shortly after Brandon arrived… including making a joke about being happy she’d shaved her legs this morning.
She wasn’t indifferent. She was trying to remain positive about something that might not be avoidable. “Vegetables didn’t have any dignity.”
Meanwhile, the empath asked his father how he could possibly be in a good mood…
Corbett explained his ‘funeral feeling’ lifted as soon as he released Sookie’s seatbelt. In his perspective, Sookie was either going to recover naturally, or she’d be stronger than ever in a few nights.
Eventually, the Stackhouses would stop surprising me, but I wasn’t looking forward to it.
With only an hour left before dawn, Pam arrived with a handful of large hermetically-sealed syringes.
The timing wasn’t a factor as far as I was concerned. Julie had cleaned my old resting place when Bubba left to visit California and the longer I waited until after I fed, the more potent my blood would be…
My concern was that Pam hadn’t left herself much time to return to the hotel…
Since I was sure Brandon would stay for the day, I had him watch as I drew my blood and explained he was to take half of a vial from me and give it to Sookie every other hour. More could bring her over, because she’d lost nearly all of her own. If she regained consciousness, he was to stop unless her health deteriorated. I let him know that he didn’t need to be gentle with me, but given how much of my blood Sookie had since the accident, he’d better be gentle with her. ‘Nut-tap’ would take on a whole new meaning for him… Sookie tried to laugh again… and her toes twitched when she was poked with the syringe.
Julie felt slightly better hearing Sookie needed to be fed if she awakened because cooking was her favorite nervous activity…
And I practically had to push Pam and Jason through the door. I had to remind them that their babysitter would be dead in half an hour, and tell them Jason would get frequent updates from the family during the day.
Other than the fact that the room smelled like Bubba now, almost nothing had changed about the room.
Brandon reallocated a lamp from the boathouse and followed me through the tunnel into the room and set it on the bedside table. Not only was he going to need to see to transfuse Sookie, but he didn’t want Sookie to wake up and not be able to see.
He even went as far as turning the bed down before I placed her on it.
Once he left, I stared down at her… Knowing Brandon was still monitoring her, I asked, “Do you feel any improvement since the injection?”
She didn’t just give me a positive feeling, but she twitched her fingers.
“That is an improvement.”
“Would you hate me if I brought you over?”
Another twitch, but this one was on her left hand.
“You’re controlling both sides now?”
Her right hand twitched.
“Is the right hand ‘yes’ and the left hand is ‘no’ or were you just exercising?”
I could feel her frustration and watched both of her hands move.
“Sookie, are you trying to give me the finger?”
Her right hand twitched again.
I chuckled and slid into bed to lie next to her, laying my arm over her stomach, trying to pacify myself with her scent. The only positive thing about the whole ordeal was that I couldn’t relive it as a nightmare.
“For future reference, you’re not allowed to die until I say so. I’ve become quite fond of you.”
After a moment, I felt her fingers brush against mine.
I could feel how hard she was struggling for motor control…
“Shhhh. I have no doubt you’ll at least be writing by sunset. You can berate me for being pulled over then.”
Her head twitched slightly as though she tried to shake it and she gripped my hand… I let her guide it over her body and she seemed content once my hand was resting in the center of her chest.
Her index finger drifted back and forth for a few minutes, as though she was exercising it… then the movements became more deliberate…
She was tracing the outline of a heart when I died for the day.