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The characters of the Southern Vampire Mysteries belong to Miss Charlaine Harris. No infringement on my part is intended. The characters on True Blood belong to Mr. Alan Ball. No infringement on my part is intended.

I have no BETA, editor, or other such charming person. All mistakes are my own.

 This story is rated M.

 Chapter 17

“Good morning,” the musher called out from the sled while he secured the dogs. “My name is Shawn and come on over and meet the boys.”

Sookie had her phone out taking photos as Josiah went from one dog to another saying his how-dos while Shawn introduced him to each one.

“Now for the adults,” he grinned as they made their way down the line and the dogs were petted and made much of.

“Class begins,” he said as all the grownups gathered around and were given a course on how to drive the sled.

“We always carry a shovel for digging out,” Shawn grinned. “If you don’t get down low enough for the curve, you could very well end up in a snow bank. As a rule, we normally have one dig out per ride. So don’t be too embarrassed if it happens to you.

Now, who is riding with Josiah on the sled behind the dogs and who is the musher? All others, on the sled being pulled behind the snow mobile.”

Sookie hopped on, Josiah climbed onto her lap and Eric got on the runners of the sled.

“Whenever I leave,” Shawn called out, “they will follow. Remember our hand signals for the braking system.”

The snow mobile started, Eric took his foot off the sled brake and just that quick, they were dashing through the snow!

Samuel was in the sled being pulled by the snow mobile in front of the dogs and had his video camera on. Clifford was taking still shots and everyone was laughing right along with Josiah!

At times through the woods, the wind and snow were kisses on their faces, when they came out into a clear stretch, it roared along with them, the flakes coming down and covering their hats and stinging their faces as the dogs pulled them effortlessly, with only a minor correction from time-to-time that was hollered back from Shawn.

Fifteen minutes into the ride, drivers were changed out.

“My turn,” Samuel called out. “I think Eric would like to be my passenger.” He winked a Josiah, “You want to ride with your father?”

Josiah giggled. “Yes please,” as his Uncle Samuel winked at him again.

“Do not,” Eric eyed his brother. “Dump us into a snow bank.”

“I will do my best not to,” came Samuel’s solemn reply.

“I know what your God has to say about liars,” Eric countered.

“Well,” Samuel smiled, “perhaps I will do my best to dump us into a snow bank,” he laughed out loud as he stepped off the brake and the dogs began to move.

 

The snow was coming down heavier. Sookie sat looking back at her guys taking pictures as they became covered in snow! They had rounded a couple of curves and she could see Samuel down low and leaning. Just to make sure he leaned enough, Eric was leaning right along with him while their boy giggled with delight and would lean with his father, as the dogs took the turn and the sled banked beautifully.

Mushing through the snow-covered woods took Eric back to his days as human. Running with his dogs, as they hurried to beat the storm home. At times, laughing at their antics, even as the darkness deepened and their lives became even more at risk. Now that Josiah was with them, perhaps it was time to say good-bye to Louisiana and hello to the Rockies.  Sookie was once more sitting with Josiah on the sled and he could feel in his heart, the time slipping much to quickly, away.

Shawn led the way to take the team back to their kennels. The family unloaded and were petting the dogs.

Shawn opened a gate and the dogs were taken behind the fence and he motioned for the family to join them.

Before they were unhooked, Shawn kneeled down by Josiah. “This is when the dog gets his snack. He has been a good boy and worked hard. Now, what we are going to do, this is very important for both the dog and his musher. Tell each to sit. When he does, pet him, tell him he is a good boy and then give him his snack,” he said. “This is very important,” he stressed to Josiah. “Don’t hand it to him until he sits like a good boy.”

“Okay,” Josiah’s eyes were round.

Shawn took the protein snacks out of his pocket one at a time and handed them to Josiah as the small boy called each one by name and gave them their instructions. Each husky responded in kind and was rewarded with a snack and a big hug from one very happy little guy.

Josiah watched as they were unhitched. Shawn scratched the sides of each dog as he came off the line and was free to go. But instead of heading for their house, something a bit odd and out of the ordinary happened. Each dog walked up to Josiah, gave him a lick on the face, yodeled a bit and then trotted off.

“By the time we get back and look at the photos,” Sookie picked up her giggling boy and hugged him, “it will be time for lunch. And I think Daddy said something about another ride this afternoon.”

“Oh-h-h-h-h,” Josiah’s voice was soft as his face lit up! “I’ll be back puppies,” he called out as Eric took him from Sookie and they headed toward their own snow mobile. “We will be back after lunch!”

The dogs all turned to him and answered, “Oo-o-o-O-oo!”

Each litter of pups was named after a series of somethings: Fashion models, fast food, clothing, shoes, kitchen appliances…the lists went on. This set of dogs was named after the arch-angles.

Michael looked at Gabriel as they trotted back to their homes. “The tall one that smells like the snow, his pup can sing to the stars and the stars sing back. His momma smells like the clear, cold water that runs beneath the snow.”

Gabriel lifted his head and howled. “The angels of old walk among us and we shall sing in the wind with them.”

 

Arlene was watching Lafayette as he prepped for dinner.

Walking over to him, she took the measuring cup out of his hand. “Terry is on his way in. Call that lawyer and tell him you are ready to go right now. If he is sincere about this, he will make it happen. Now, you go on,” she leaned in and kissed his cheek. “We have this.”

Nodding his head, he took off his apron and tossing it into the wash basket, he was out the door.

 

The ride to the airport was quiet, Lafayette lost in his thoughts, Tara was driving and letting him linger there.

It was sundown, he noted and he was in Shreveport. This was his life and it was about to change. Honestly, he had not seen this coming. “You takes good care of my old girl here,” he said to Tara as she dropped him at the terminal. “And go cleans out my fridge. You be leaving the tequila slushie I has in the freezer.”

Tara managed a sad face and a sniffle.

“I means it,” he said looking at her and then leaning over gave her a kiss.

“What,” his voice trembled a bit, “what if I likes it there? What ifs I don’t wants to come back?”

“I’ll come and visit,” she grinned at him.

“What if I likes it and sells it anyways so I can go back to school?” his voice was even softer.

“La La,” she took his hand, “be more than what you are…more than you could ever dream of…” she whispered back.

“Alright then,” he nodded and opened he door. “I’ll call.” Then his face took on one of panic. “Maybes…shit…I don’ts even knows if they has ring-a-ling service…or cable…just what the fucks am I gonna do without the white trashes on Jerry Springer?”

“Go,” she said, her voice stern. Then smiling at him, she gave him a kiss on the check.

Nodding, he got out of the car and grabbing his suitcase from the back seat smiled and waved at her one last time.

“Go and be somebody,” she whispered as she watched him walk off into the building.

“Mr. Reynolds,” Phillip approached him. “It is good to see you again. This way,” he said as they headed toward an unmarked door.
“What the fucks?” Lafayette said as they walked down a corridor and out into a private hanger. “That there is a multi-million dollar Lear jet…that our ride?”

“Yes,” Phillip replied as a flight attendant approached them and took Lafayette’s bag. “It is.”

“Private jet, our own flight crew,” Lafayette let out a low whistle.  “Mississippi own more than just a ranch?”

“You could say that,” Phillip smiled as they took the steps up and boarded the plane.

“We is goin’ to Colorado? His La La fineness is seein’s and still not believen’s.”

“Indeed we are,” he replied. “Mr. Da’vid and Mr. Northman have been notified that you will be arriving tonight. Master Josiah is very much looking forward to seeing his Uncle Lafayette.”

“So,” he sat down and eyed Phillip. “I really won’t have any land to sell.”

“Oh yes,” Phillip nodded as he took his seat across from him. “As a matter of fact, you are going to sell it for several million dollars along with the mineral rights of which you shall receive a dividend every month. There is an old abandoned copper mine on the premises. And with the price of copper, a very small amount of mining will make your income believable. Your mother will be provided for and you are to return to school.

You really should have taken Mr. Northman’s check for the ten thousand,” Phillip smiled at him. “He does not like to be told no and can go to extremes to make his point. Of course, Mr. Da’vid cheers him on and Mr. Northman really does not like to disappoint his brother. So there is no such thing as over the top. Just when you think you have seen it all,” Phillip shook his head and chuckled, “those two continue to surprise me.”

“You know them very long?” he asked.

“Only a couple of hundred years,” he said with pride.

“You a Supernatural? Just askin’ cause I’m nots readin’ anythin’.”

“Well, maybe I am now, but I did not start out that way…you see, we were living in Paris at the time and Mr. Northman had a run on with some witches…”

“Lordy, lordy, lordy,” Billy sighed, wrapped in a mink fur coat as he watched his Little Sugar and Mr. Phillip of the Phillips Clan do business. “Jean, have you ever…?” he sighed as he ran his hand across the leather upholstery. “Fells like buttah,” he said and sighed again.

“You think this mink is too much,” Jean asked as he turned his head. “I know Colorado is cold and as long as there is a R in the month you can wear it. That and eat oysters. But I like my outfit. Not to excessive, mink trimmed out on everything? Even my gloves and shoes.”

“Not too excessive?” Billy arched an eyebrow at him. “What kind of talk is that?”

“Well, just all right then. But our Little Sugar is not wearing fur. No sir.”

Lafayette held up his hand and said, “Mr. Phillips, one moment, please.

Aunties,” he pleaded, looking at them. “Please. We has gots to get through this. I needs to hit the Rocky Mountain High with both feets of all this fab-u-lus-ness on the ground and this is more than evens I bargained fors. If I was to have sold my souls at the crossroads….no sir…” he shook his head. “Please…!”

“Of course, Little Sugar,” Billy nodded his head in agreement. “Good thing we is going…and in such nice luxuries. We has sure ‘nuff got the info for Big Sugar. Today was a headful of nasty. This niceness is helpin’ to put me back in balance.”

 

The happy dog mushing family had returned home to snacks, Fantasia, and then an early dinner.

Dinner was rowdy and full of dog talk and mushing dog heroisms. At times, Josiah had stood in his chair to demonstrate how one of the dogs had pulled harder than the other one and how Shawn had called out to the other dog to do his share.

Dessert was served and when Josiah had finished his, he laid his head down on the table and went to sleep.

“He has had a day,” Sookie grinned. “I’ll put him to bed and I just might lie down with him a bit, myself.”

“Lafayette is inbound in about an hour and a half. Do you want me to wake you?” Eric leaned over and gave her a kiss on the nose.

“Maybe,” she replied. “Call my name and if I wake up, good, if not, then I’d say maybe I was down for the count and give Lafayette my hellos.”

“Will do. Here, I’ll carry him,” Eric said as he stood and lifted Josiah up out of his chair.   Putting his arm around Sookie, they disappeared down the hall.

Samuel looked at the table and the things that sat on it. Because he was so old, he could eat fruit based things that he knew as human from time to time. Tonight he had tasted a few dishes with grains that he knew as a child.

He had started the morning with a sunbeam dancing on his palm! He had been up all day, out of doors, and not one sign of the bleeds. And it was not his God’s holy day. Just a day…and he felt the tears from in his eyes. “Just a day like none other!” he felt the words catch in his throat.

Closing his eyes, he could hear the song of the grapes that was causing the crystal decanter to slightly vibrate.

When Clifford came in to clear away the table, he found Samuel openly weeping.

Sitting down beside him, Clifford took his hand and said. “The lad is an angel sent to us. To teach us.”

“Yes,” Samuel replied, the tears staining his cheeks. “What happens Clifford,” he sobbed, “when there are no more lessons for us to learn? Angles never stay in their earthly form. They are always recalled to God’s side. When it is time for him to go, it will tear Sookie’s and Eric’s heart out. Mine is breaking just at the thought of it.”

“We will treasure each second, Master Samuel, and count ourselves blessed beyond reason. Now,” he stood and softly stroked Samuel’s face. “Would you care for more wine? I believe I hear Master Eric on his way back down.”

 

“Cabin…what the fucks…his La La fineness says,” as he approached the house from the helipad.

“Lordy,” Billy let out a low whistle. “You thinks Mr. Samuel would mind us haunting this here place?”

“I could live here,” Jean answered. “I think,” he looked up up up into the sky, looking for the roof line, “I think Mr. Samuel has gots room for us.”

 

“Sookie and Josiah are asleep,” Eric said as he greeted them at the door.

“Please,” Samuel bowed at the waist, “won’t you please come in.

Phillip called and said all the paper work was signed,” Samuel smiled as he helped them with their coats. “Most excellent.”

“Yes,” Lafayette nodded, “I was handled.”

“Good,” Samuel smiled and so did Eric. “Would you like a drink? Food?”

“No,” Lafayette shook his head as he looked around. “Billy and Jean says they come bearing news…not the good kinds.”

“Well then lets get started, this way please,” Samuel said as he led them to his office.

They settled in. Lafayette was taking his time looking around. There on Samuel’s desk was the castle. It did not look so imposing or scary in a room with a twenty-foot ceiling. It looked kinda homey with that great big fire roaring in a great big fireplace. “Coulds park my old girl in there,” Lafayette thought as he pictured his old Volvo sitting in the massive rock firebox. “Yes, could just parallel park her in there. Lordy…La La…just lordy…”

Drinks were poured and Lafayette noted that he was sipping liquid magic from a one hundred year old bottle of tequila. It was so smooth it went down like spring water. With somewhat of a start, he noted that Eric and Samuel were as well!

“HRM is going to marry Compton,” Billy started out. “This has been hot gossip and much speculations as to what blackmail he has dangling over her pretty little head.”

“Any clue?” Eric asked.

“Yes,” Jean snickered and Billy laughed out loud. “Something about the fairy is not right. She has shifted to another form. And I do not means from death to life.”

“What?” Eric, Samuel and Lafayette both said at the same time.

“Hadley Savoy is no longer the dead pert little blonde. She is now very much alive and a tall brunette. HRM says she is a shifting fae. Attila the Hun is all on board and is touting her charms and fae like ways.”

“What?” Eric and Samuel both exclaimed in loud voices.

“HRM and Compton are to be married in about two weeks, give or take, and she is going to crown him king.”

“What!” Eric yelled.

“Blackmail of the most spectacular kind,” Samuel laughed out loud.

“Please,” Eric bowed to the Aunties, “please start from the beginning.”

“We shall tell you what we have gleaned from all the gossip we have heard,” Jean smiled. “And it is good…vampires do so love to gossip!

And the rich folks that are there, they love to listen. And Compton, he has her kissin’ on him, holdin’ hands and you should see the suite of rooms she has prepared for him.”

“And cause she has been such a bad steward of her monies,” Billy picked up, “Compton is puttin’ her on a budget and I am hearin’ things like the night they are married, he is going to take a rod to her backside just like every good husband does to start his wedding night. Oh, there is all kinds of nasty-assed talk that goes with that. Such as, for the right amount of money, you can watch, and also watch them consummate the marriage.”

“Gag,” Eric shook all over and then became thoughtful. “That is some damn good blackmail.”

“How,” Samuel was at a loss, “how did they convince The Hun that Not-Hadley was fae?”

“He wanted to believe,” was all Jean said.

“He is smitten with her,” Billy added. “We have seen them together.

Others pay the crown for her services each night, and they all nod among themselves and say how different and wonderful. But she always ends the night back with The Hun. She is to be auctioned off. Bigger money calls everyday wanting to be invited to the auction as well as the royal marriage.

HRM says her wedding gift to her Snookems’” they all gagged, “is that he will set the minimum bid for her.”

“And The Hun believes her to be fae…!” Eric could not believe what he was hearing.

“Oh yes, Compton had the back story and Granny Adele knew all this to be truth…and since no one can dispute his story and HRM stands with him…” Billy shrugged.

“But Attila? He is suspicious of his own shadow,” Eric said with a shake of his head.

“Mr. Erics,” Lafayette poured them all another round. “It is like the story The Emperor’s New Clothes. Two thieves hits upon’s the idea to be weavers and they tells everyone, while they are workin’s with nothin’s at their looms, that they are makin’ the most marvelous material and it is invisible to those not fit for their position nor can fools see it.

Now, this emperor is a clotheshorse. Maybes worse than La La. Always fashion forwards. He wants these newest and has them set up shops just for him. Every hour he sends his minsters to check. They all comes back with how beautifuls it is and flatterin’s it will be on him cause none of them wants to be considered fools or lookin’ for new employment or maybe their head.

Finally, the thieves announce the clothes are done.

The emperor does not see the cloth but he is not gonna say so. After all, the lowest of his low has. And so he dresses hisself in these new clothes and goes about his court butt ugly naked, but no one tells him so.

One day he is out walkin’ among his people and a child says that the Emperor is naked and everyone starts to laugh and point.”

“I get it,” Samuel nodded. “Sophie-Anne validated Compton’s story about the shifting fae. Attila obviously is smitten with Not-Haldey and wants to believe. Now those who have the money can say they have fucked a fae and have become their own special little club with all those bragging rights.”

“And so it goes,” Billy echoed.

“A wedding and a crowing in or about two weeks,” Eric smiled and then became very serious. “Lafayette, Sookie says you can perform weddings.”

“Yes,” he nodded. “I am an interfaith, Internet minister. I files it with the state. It is all legal tender.”

“Good,” Eric was thoughtful. “There is going to be a wedding.”

“Oh?” Lafayette leaned in. “Who is the happy couple?”

“Miss Stackhouse and myself, just as soon as she says yes.”

“Congratulations are in order!” Samuel lifted his shot glass while everyone else shouted “Congratulations!”

“Well,” Eric grinned and then became serious, “she does have to say yes. And until then, all of you behave yourselves.

And speaking of behaving,” he focused on Lafayette. “We love your flamboyant ways, but we are going to need you to be straight while out of the house. We have your doppelganger that is going to be arriving at the ranch that you inherited. He will be seen and people will know that you are there looking about.

You are family,” Eric stressed. “We are going to want you to go with us when we go into town for shopping or an evening out.”

“I can do straight,” he nodded.

“Thanks,” Eric smiled.

“I understand,” Lafayette nodded. “You think they are still out there.”

Eric grimaced and shook his head. “With Compton blackmailing her, Sophie-Anne is going to be desperate, even more so now with that cocksucker taking on the mantle of king and the rights of her husband.

Samuel has Breckinridge wired, but not the rest of the state. And they are looking for the least slip up. We may, at times, be foolhardy about some things…”

“Paris comes to mind,” Samuel chuckled.

Eric cleared his throat and glared at his brother. “But when it comes to the safety of my family,” he smiled at Lafayette, “we take no reckless chances.”

 

Dear Readers,

Many thanks for your kind thoughts and good words for my sister Sharon.  Wednesday her doc briefs her on the chemo therapy.  After they have killed what they can of those little bastards, they will operate and remove the rest.  Until we reach the end of that road, this is where we stand for the moment.  Sharon in in good spirits and is a woman of great faith. We are believing for the best possible outcome…whatever that might be.

As always, thanks for reading….and your support for my family!

CES